Moral Panic about Drugs in the News Portal

Daumantas Stumbrys


Sociological, criminological and communication science theories illuminated to the role of the mass media in deviance amplification process in the middle of the 20th century. British criminologist Stanley Cohen was among the first to draw attention to how the mass media is manipulating public fear of illicit drugs users. Another British criminologist Jock Young has developed a theoretical model which theoretically explains the connection between the public reaction to deviance and deviance amplification. This study is based on S. Cohen’s moral panic and J. Young’s deviance amplification theories. It is grounded in the analysis of data collected in qualitative content analysis of the readers’ comments in the news portal Qualitative content analysis highlighted two symptoms of the moral panic: illicit drugs users were conceived as ‘folk devils’ and villains; the illicit drugs problem was presented as that of irresistibly spreading disease.

Article in: English

Article published: 2012-04-02

Keyword(s): fear of drugs; illicit drugs; moral panic; mass media

DOI: 10.3846/cpc.2012.08

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Coactivity: Philosophy, Communication / Santalka: Filosofija, Komunikacija ISSN 2029-6320, eISSN 2029-6339
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