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Panic Now!
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  1. Panic Now!

  2. Barry Glassner’s (1999)The Culture of Fear • Formerly a professor of Sociology at University of Southern California • Author of a number of articles and books on the culture of fear phenomenon

  3. Frank Furedi’s (2006) Culture of Fear Revisited • Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, UK • Author of author of Politics of Fear, Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?, Therapy Culture, Paranoid Parenting and Culture of Fear.

  4. The Social Construction of Reality • Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman, 1966 • Knowledge is derived from and maintained by social interaction • The meanings of anything are the product of human interpretations and are not in nature • Our understandings of the world are produced by us, are socially constructed

  5. Moral Panics • Stanley Cohen (1972) Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and the Rockers • A study of subculture and the media’s role in defining social problems for the public

  6. Cohen’s Case Study • conflict between Mods and Rockers, in Clacton on Easter Sunday, 1964 • two groups fought resulting in some vandalism and property damange • In the end, 97 arrested

  7. Conclusions • the media's coverage of the episode was subject to exaggeration and distortion of the facts, giving the impression the event was more violent than it actually was

  8. The Media’s Role • An 'amplification' takes place through the media • It appeals to the public so that they concur with ready-made opinions about the course of action to be taken

  9. Moral Panics • Moral Panic, defined: “A condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests”

  10. Social Control Moral panics function to support and legitimize particular kinds of social control through: • Identifying a “social problem”; • Simplifying its cause; 3) Stigmatizing those involved; 4) Stirring up public indignation or concern.

  11. Goode and Ben Yehuda (1994)Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance • 1. Concern • 2. Hostility • 3. Consensus • 4. Disproportionality • 5. Volatility

  12. Glassner’s (1999) “Social Construction of Fear” • “Fear is constructed through efforts to protect against it.” • “Neither the things that people do to protect themselves individually or collectively, nor what they are protecting themselves from, necessarily reveal their true fears.”

  13. Misdirection • Like a magician’s sleight of hand to execute a magic trick, media work to focus our attention away from real risks and struggles • We are afraid of the wrong things because these are the things on the media agenda

  14. Erving Goffman (1974) Framing Theory • The ways that stories are framed influences the meaning they will have • Definitions of a situation are constructed in accordance with principles of organization which govern events and our subjective involvement in them

  15. Frames Defined • Frames are cognitive structures which guide perception and representations of reality • They structure which parts of reality get noticed • They are not necessarily consciously manufactured and are often unconsciously adopted

  16. Todd Gitlin’s (1980) definition • “Frames are principles of selection, emphasis and presentation composed of little tacit theories about what exists, what happens, and what matters.” • In sort, frames structure our attention

  17. Media Effects • What effects does our consumption of media have on our understandings of the world?

  18. Cultivation Theory – George Gerbner • TV viewing has quantitatively observable effects on the perceptual worlds of audiences • Watching violence on TV creates an exaggerated belief that the world is violent or, in his words, “mean and scary”

  19. The Hypodermic Model • Also known as the “Magic Bullet theory” • The passive audience is injected with ideas about the world by media

  20. Agenda Setting Theory McComb and Shaw • The agenda of the media and the public agenda are closely matched • The media’s agenda setting function means that there is a high correlation between media and the public ordering of priorities • People are more likely to attribute importance to and event, issue, or idea because of media exposure

  21. Risk Society – Ulrich Beck • Risk is a product of knowledges produced by people, generally experts in a variety of scientific disciplines and actuaries • Risk as what has not-yet happened but is probable or predicted • The perception of risk has changed as a result of science and the unboundedness of time and space

  22. Moral Panics Vs .... • Risk found in people • Risks are time limited and infinitely substitutable • Risks lead to scapegoating • Risks are created by media • Moral outrage is the outcome • Moral panics can create a culture of fear

  23. ...Vs Risk Society • Risk found in our environments • Risks are not bound to space and time • Risks are defined not for purposes of blame but for purposes of increased control • Risks are created by science and knowledge • Moral imperatives to risk aversion are the outcome • Risk knowledges can create a culture of fear

  24. Glassner“Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things” Glassner’s examples: • Health scares • Killer kids • Crime • Others? • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYApo2d8o_A

  25. Why we are afraid: • Premillennial tensions • The news media • Alarmism • Psychological projection of personal, moral, etc. insecurities

  26. Why do we panic? • The dominance of an ethos of risk-aversion • Overreaction • Disproportionality • Others?

  27. What gets defined as a panic and what not depends on who is doing the defining. • Political agendas and selectivity • Pedagogies of fear

  28. Technical explanations: • Media amplification or attenuation of risk • Most people get information by way of media • Fear sells

  29. Social explanations: • Change is experienced as risk • Concern about the future • Impossibility of knowing • Diminished humanity • Reconciling limits • All collect under the umbrella of the last theme: Diminished sense of control

  30. Workshop: Critical Reading • Who? • What? • When? • Where? • Why? • How?

  31. Where did it come from? Who wrote it? When? • Who is it written for? • What does it say? What is its topic? Thesis? What evidence does it provide to support its argument? What examples does it use? • How is the argument organized? • Is there a bias? Of what it is trying to persuade you?