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moral panic

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A mass movement based on the false or exaggerated perception that some cultural behaviour or group of people is dangerously deviant and poses a threat to society's values and interests. Moral panics are generally fuelled by media coverage of social issues. The phenomenon was first described in 1972 in relation to the ‘Mods & Rockers’ groups of the 1960s. Since then moral panics have occurred in relation to ‘ritual satanic abuse’, that was perceived to be widespread in the 1980s, and paedophilia, which led to vigilante action against innocent people.

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