Beyond 'Media Panics': Reconceptualising public debates about children and media
Title: Beyond 'Media Panics': Reconceptualising public debates about children and media
Citation: Journal of Children and Media, 2012, 6, 4, 413-429
ISSN: 1748-2798; 1748-2801
This paper presents a critical review of the use of “moral panics” theory as a means of understanding public debates about children and media, and specifically of the notion of “media panics.” Following a brief presentation of the origins and key aspects of media panics theory, it focuses on six key issues that are at stake. It argues that there are some problems with the epistemology of media panics theory, with its account of intentionality, and with its claim to rationality. It further suggests that media panics theory tends to provide a “presentist” view of history, and a rather oversimplified account of cultural and generational politics; and that it neglects the positive positions that are also often rehearsed in public debate. The final section of the article provides brief discussions of two approaches that might provide productive alternatives to media panics theory: social constructionism and new cultural history.
Received: 03 Aug 2011 Accepted: 12 Oct 2012 Version of record first published: 09 Nov 2012
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