Intimate Enemies: Moral Panics in Contemporary Great Britain
Intimate Enemies describes the creation of a journalistically induced panic in Great Britain during the the 1980s - a decade of intense concern about a closely related set of perceived problems: sexual abuse of children, child pornography, satanic rituals, and serial murder. It was widely alleged that such practices became more common during the decade, and the notoriety attracted major attention from the mass media, as well as from agencies in law enforcement, social welfare, and mental health.
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Page 4 - Societies appear to be subject, every now and then, to periods of moral panic. A condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests...
Page 4 - A condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests; its nature is presented in a stylized and stereotypical fashion by the mass media; the moral barricades are manned by editors, bishops politicians and other right-thinking people; socially accredited experts pronounce their diagnoses and solutions; ways of coping are evolved or (more often) resorted to; the condition then disappears, submerges or deteriorates and becomes more visible.
Page 5 - When the official reaction to a person, groups of persons or series of events is out of all proportion to the actual threat offered, when "experts," in the form of police chiefs, the judiciary, politicians and editors perceive the threat in all but identical terms, and appear to talk "with one voice...
Page 4 - ... people; socially accredited experts pronounce their diagnoses and solutions; ways of coping are evolved or (more often) resorted to; the condition then disappears, submerges or deteriorates and becomes more visible. Sometimes the object of the panic is quite novel and at other times it is something which has been in existence long enough, but suddenly appears in the limelight.
Page iii - WAS it a friend or foe that spread these lies ? " "Nay, who but infants question in such wise ? 'Twas one of my most intimate enemies.
Page xiii - A social problem is a condition which is defined by a considerable number of persons as a deviation from some social norm which they cherish.
Page 5 - ... object of the panic is quite novel and at other times it is something which has been in existence long enough, but suddenly appears in the limelight. Sometimes the panic passes over and is forgotten, except in folklore and collective memory; at other times it has more serious and long-lasting repercussions and might produce such changes as those in legal and social policy or even in the way the society conceives itself.
Page 2 - ... may actually perform a needed service to society by drawing people together in a common posture of anger and indignation. The deviant individual violates rules of conduct which the rest of the community holds in high respect; and when these people come together to express their outrage over the offense and to bear witness against the offender, they develop a tighter bond of solidarity than existed earlier.