Da r.i.p.c - moral panic

Examples of things over which there were actual moral panics, or arguably could be called moral panics, organized by category:

This paper examines teenage pregnancy as a social-historical construction of increasing concern in Brazil. It presents findings from over five years of empirical research alongside an analysis of a sample of newspaper articles representative of the dominant positions in the Brazilian press concerning teenage pregnancy. In contrast to mainstream arguments and to broader moral panic surrounding teenage pregnancy, we argue that contemporary patterns of sexual behaviour among young people in Brazil do not signal growing permissiveness and are not straightforwardly related to poverty, family dysfunction or lack of life projects on the part of young people themselves. On the contrary, early pregnancy and parenthood retain strong continuities with core Brazilian values and norms of sexual culture.

So, does the John Jay College study tells us then, as one often reads, that 4 percent of American priests are pedophiles? Not at all. According to the research, percent of the accusations involved minors who had advanced beyond puberty. Having sexual relations with a 17-year-old is certainly not a beautiful thing, and much less so for a priest, but it is not pedophilia. Therefore, only 958 American priests were accused of true pedophilia over 52 years, 18 per year. Convictions were much rarer, between one and two per year.

Copyright © 2001 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-MAR-25
Latest update: 2011-SEP-20
Author: . Robinson

Kee MacFarlane , a social worker employed by the Children's Institute International , developed a new way to interrogate children with anatomically correct dolls and used them in an effort to assist disclosures of abuse with the McMartin children. After asking the children to point to the places on the dolls where they had allegedly been touched and asking leading questions, MacFarlane diagnosed sexual abuse in virtually all the McMartin children. [31] She coerced disclosures by using lengthy interviews that rewarded discussions of abuse and punished denials. The trial testimony that resulted from such methods was often contradictory and vague on all details except for the assertion that the abuse had occurred. [26] Although the initial charges in the McMartin case featured allegations of Satanic abuse and a vast conspiracy, these features were dropped relatively early in the trial, and prosecution continued only for non-ritual allegations of child abuse against only two defendants. [32] After three years of testimony, McMartin and Buckey were acquitted on 52 of 65 counts, and the jury was deadlocked on the remaining 13 charges against Buckey, with 11 of 13 jurors choosing not guilty. Buckey was re-charged and two years later released without conviction. [26]

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Do you think that widespread fears, and general dissatisfaction in a population can make a it less vulnerable to these panics?
I don’t think so. The jaded argument doesn’t really apply. Certainly people are overwhelmed by the amount of information they are getting, that might make some difference, information overload is a big issue these days. People are asked so often to help a cause, contribute money, and so on. But at the same time we remain in a state of crisis, as always, about the moral boundaries of society. As long as there is not one single set of moral values across a whole society, there will always be these episodes of moral panic.