Moral Panics

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Challenge: Select and describe a “moral panic” against a perceived deviance. Analyse the role of the “moral entrepreneur” and “folk devil” in your selected case. Finally, explicate what it demonstrates about individuals and their socialization. (Length: 2 000 words)

Societies tend to view the youth as the future and hope of a nation. To a certain extent, societies observe the behaviours and potential of the young people to ‘estimate’ the political and socio-economic future of a nation. When there is what societies view as a deviance from the norm when in it comes to young people – often there is what is viewed as a ‘moral panic’. I will be looking at the ‘moral panic’ of youth crime or juvenile delinquency, the role of its ‘moral
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juvenile delinquency is most likely to have a negative impact on society. The second characteristic is that if the hostility towards “youths” increases, they will eventually become “folk devils” therefore creating a division (Cohen 1973:16). The third is a form of consensus although concern is not nationwide; there should be global acceptance that the youths pose a threat to society. The fourth characteristic is formed up of disproportionality and the action taken is disproportionate to the actual threat posed by the accused group. The final characteristic is instability; moral panics are highly volatile and tend to disappear as quickly due to a lack of public interest or other rising news reports (Goode and Ben-Yehuda 1994:57).
Is youth crime a moral panic or a moral crisis, many people will have different views however what view does the media have? The media tend to represent youth crime as a moral panic within society to create a stir and gain the public’s attention. Since the existence of youth crime the media uses this particular offence as a catalyst of creating a moral panic within the community.
Youth crime can be defined is referred to as “Juvenile delinquency” this refers to children generally under the age of 18 years old who behaves in a way, which is against the law. Majority of legal systems recommend specific actions for dealing with these youths, e.g. young offender’s institutes or detention centres. In the South Africa youth crime is generally
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