This time, the right kind of moral panic

At last we may be entering what sociologists call a “moral panic” over guns. While the term may sound ominous, moral panics historically have been behind may progressive (and conservative) social changes.

According to Stanley Cohen, author of Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972) and credited as creator of the term, a moral panic occurs when ” condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests”.Those who start the panic when they fear a threat to prevailing social or cultural values are known by researchers as moral entrepreneurs, while people who supposedly threaten the social order have been described as “folk devils.” Continue reading “This time, the right kind of moral panic”