Moral Panics in the Contemporary World

Brunel University 10-12 December 2010

Contributions are invited for an international conference which will explore the continuing relevance of the notion of moral panic in analyzing a range of contemporary phenomena.

Almost four decades have passed since the initial development of the moral panic concept by Stanley Cohen, Jock Young and others. Since its emergence in the early 1970s from radical criminology, the moral panic concept has both been taken up by a variety of academic disciplines and entered wider popular and journalistic discourse, being applied in both cases to a wide range of empirical examples. Recent attempts to develop the moral panic concept have made connections to theories of risk, discourse and moral regulation. The concept has also been applied to the analysis of a growing range of examples, including issues related to health, lifestyle and the environment. It is clear that moral panic not only remains a topical concept, but also is one that has become increasingly widely used both within academia and the wider culture. However, perhaps precisely because the term is now so widespread, questions have been raised about the scope of its applicability and indeed about the adequacy of the moral panic concept itself.

The central thematic strands of the conference are:

Environment & Risk

War & Terror

Lifestyle & Health

Crime & Deviance

Immigration & Security

Economic Crisis & Political Scandal

We invite papers which investigate these areas of current concern and which draw on the concept of moral panic, with empirical and theoretical rigour and originality. We welcome contributions that draw on a wide variety of disciplines, including: sociology, criminology, cultural studies, psychology, politics, media studies, journalism studies, and history.

Please submit proposals for papers (title, plus abstract of approx. 250 words) to Jason Hughes and Amanda Rohloff. Email: moral-panic@brunel.ac.uk

The deadline for submission of abstracts is: Monday May 3.

Confirmed speakers thus far include:

Professor Stanley Cohen (LSE)

Professor Jock Young (University of Kent)

Professor Chas Critcher (Swansea University)

Professor Catharine Lumby (University of New South Wales)

Associate Professor Sean Hier (University of Victoria)

James Oliver, the BBC Panorama producer of the Baby P programme


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