The Development of the Moral Panic Concept

  • Sarah Wright MonodEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society book series (PSRCS)


Documents the emergence of the concept of moral panic via Cohen’s (Folk devils and moral panics, Paladin, Hertz, 1972) Folk devils and moral panics, Hall et al.’s (Policing the crisis: Mugging, the state, and law and order, MacMillan, London, 1978) Policing the crisis and Good and Ben-Yehuda’s (1994) Moral panics: The social construction of deviance. These three studies are the foundational studies which make up the ‘original project’ of panic. This chapter traces how each of the studies developed conceptual and theoretical understandings of panic from empirical data and argues that a transferable panic concept remains valuable, but that researchers need to move on from ‘ticking off’ stages and criteria.


Moral Panic Folk Devils Original Project Sense-making Phase Clacton 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Victoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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