Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers

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Routledge, 2002 - Social Science - 201 pages
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Stanley Cohen's study of Mods and Rockers in the 1960s was a foundational text both in terms of investigating the workings of subcultural groups and identifying the concept of a 'moral panic' generated by the media, which leads to groups being vilified in the popular imagination, and inhibits rational debate about solutions to the social problems such groups represent. The insights Cohen provides into subculture and mass morality are as relevant today as they were when the book was originally published in 1972, as illustrated by the author's introduction for this new edition, in which he tracks moral panics over the last thirty years, commenting on the demonization of young offenders and asylum seekers and on the News of the World's 'name and shame' campaign against paedophiles.
Revisiting the theory of moral panic and exploring the way in which the concept has been used, this new edition features a select bibliography of key texts for further reading. The third edition of Folk Devils and Moral Panics makes available a valuable and widely recommended text.

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Unfortunately the other reviews on here appear to have missed the point. It may put off the lay reader looking for some insights into response to the mod or rocker culture - Cohen admitted that he neglected the participants in his study. In that sense this is not a book about the subculture - though many ex-mods have read and understood the book as something that gives a historical foundation to the mod identity (one shaped by style and social response).
The later editions move with the times to leave the mod and rocker issue as a historical fact that helps us to understand why some groups become sensationalised and touch the national conscience at a particular time (how social anxiety makes us receptive to 'panic' about 'folk devils').
Too many students read only textbook accounts of this book and they are short-changed. Cohen is one of the most important writers of the last 20-30 years. His style is accessible and analysis sharp .
Postcript - I realise now that the other reviews are "spams" - nonsense written to attract people to goodreads. Google should remove the trite nonsense! See the review 'this is such an actual book' for evidence...
 

Review: Folk Devils and Moral Panics

User Review  - Mara - Goodreads

This is such an actual book although it was written over 3 decades ago... Read full review

References to this book

Consumer Culture
Celia Lury
Limited preview - 1996
Moral Panics
Kenneth Thompson
Limited preview - 1998
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About the author (2002)

Stanley Cohen is at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of numerous books, including "Visions of Social Control" (Polity, 1985), "Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers" (1980), "Against Criminology" (1988) and "Psychological Survival: The Experience of Long Term Imprisonment" (1973).

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