Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Stephen L. Muzzatti
The concept of moral panic has been a core element in the work of many sociologists of deviance, and criminologists, especially those from the interactionist (viewing the world as one of subjective realities) and conflict (seeing the world as an objective reality) schools, for at least the last quarter of the twentieth century. Like many other criminological concepts, it has a rich and multifaceted history. Most scholars point to British criminologist Stanley Cohen (b. 1942) as the founder of the concept of moral panic. First published in 1972, Cohen's book Folk Devils and Moral Panics was an outgrowth of work done while he was a doctoral student at the University of London between 1964 and 1967, and the first place that the concept of moral panic was fully developed. He defines a moral panic as a condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat ...