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Transient Feelings: Sex Panics and the Politics of Emotions

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Throughout the 1990s, during my field research into conflicts over sexuality education, I was initially riveted by what I found—public discussions that flared into furious arguments. Neighbors hurled epithets like "fascist" and "McCarthyite" at each other, while school board meetings went from sleepy affairs to late-night shouting matches involving hundreds of residents. Adrenaline buzzed throughout public meetings, all of us alert to the next outburst. School board members told me about receiving death threats, being spit on, and having tires slashed. After explosive meetings they received police escorts to their cars. One prominent sex education foe collapsed from an anxiety attack during his speech at an especially rancorous meeting, while those of us left waiting in the school auditorium worried in hushed whispers that he had died of a heart attack. Sex education conflicts escalated rapidly through the 1990s and spread to nearby cities as though contagious. Sensational media coverage heightened these public battles, while officials scrambled for solutions. These were the feelings of community controversies, local dramas played out in the shadow of national politics. To paraphrase the British sociologist Stanley Cohen, societies appear to be subject, every now and then, to periods of sex panic. A derivative of Cohen's concept "moral panic," the term sex panic was coined in 1984 by the anthropologist Carole Vance to explain volatile battles over sexuality. Both moral panic and sex panic have been used by activists and the media and have been adopted and revised by sociologists, historians, and cultural studies scholars. Prominent researchers, among them Estelle Freedman, Gayle Rubin, Jeffrey Weeks, and Lisa Duggan, deployed the panic metaphor—moral panic, sex-crime panic, AIDS panic, or sex panic—to explore political conflict, sexual regulation, and public volatility about sex. A vivid analytic term, moral panic bespeaks the mobilization of intense affect in the service of moral politics. Cohen's moral panic, which described the 1960s reaction to rioting by youth groups (the mods and the rockers) in the vacation town of Brighton, featured angry crowds milling at British seacoast towns and hyperbolic media coverage. Likewise, sex panic aptly captured the hostile political climate during late-twentieth-century controversies over gay rights, censorship, and sex education. Sex panics are significant because they are "the political moment of sex," which Weeks and Rubin both describe as the transmogrification of moral values into political action. I extend their important claim by suggesting that public emotion is a powerful catalyst in effecting this political moment. In this article, I suggest that we can enhance the analytic power of the moral/sex panic framework by integrating social theories of emotion. As I discuss below, the sex panic literature tends to focus on structural elements, in particular the expansion of state power through institutional mechanisms of regulation. Public feeling, although acknowledged in passing by most sex panic scholars, is often represented as anarchic, moblike, and hysterical, all descriptions that recall late-nineteenth-century critiques of the irrational crowd. Lack of attention to public sentiment in the sex panic literature is likely intended to minimize its importance, in contrast to moral conservatives who exaggerate the significance of collective outrage to legitimate social control. As Cohen noted in the recent thirtieth-anniversary edition of Folk Devils and Moral Panics, political progressives tend to use the term moral panic to expose collective volatility as "tendentious." Unfortunately, however, this strategy places the panic of a sex panic outside social and political reach. I am suggesting that we broaden our analysis of sex panics to include their deep emotional dimensions, including how emotions braid through and legitimize structures of domination. Overt emotion is not only increasingly acceptable but seemingly required in contemporary politics, where it conveys righteous solidarity and demands state intervention. Contemporary Western societies consider feelings the core of the self; they are constructed as a site of truth and ethics. Hence feelings, as Michel Foucault has argued, are "the main field of morality," and indeed of the moral panic. In contrast to scholars who view the emotions of sex panics as irrational, moral conservatives cast them as authentic moral outrage. Because of its cultural authority, public emotion can pressure politicians, police, media, and other regulatory agents to...

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... As noções de pânicos sexuais elaboradas por Janice Irvine (2007) nos auxiliam a compreender o cerne da obra em estudo. Para vencer as disputas que travam contra aqueles que reivindicam o reconhecimento de suas sexualidades dissidentes, setores conservadores e religiosos manipulam as emoções coletivas, através de uma estrutura discursiva sofisticada e roteirizada que organiza crenças e moralidades; apropria-se de uma linguagem sexual evocativa do medo de transgressões e perversões sexuais; manipula imagens sensoriais que levam ao nojo; demoniza o "inimigo" a ser combatido (IRVINE, 2007). Essas estratégias fazem parte do roteiro que desperta pânicos sexuais, desencadeando emoções locais ferozes e reações públicas voláteis que conseguem pressionar o Estado a dar uma resposta apressada às controvérsias, resultando geralmente em leis e políticas públicas que restringem direitos sexuais (IRVINE, 2007). ...
... Para vencer as disputas que travam contra aqueles que reivindicam o reconhecimento de suas sexualidades dissidentes, setores conservadores e religiosos manipulam as emoções coletivas, através de uma estrutura discursiva sofisticada e roteirizada que organiza crenças e moralidades; apropria-se de uma linguagem sexual evocativa do medo de transgressões e perversões sexuais; manipula imagens sensoriais que levam ao nojo; demoniza o "inimigo" a ser combatido (IRVINE, 2007). Essas estratégias fazem parte do roteiro que desperta pânicos sexuais, desencadeando emoções locais ferozes e reações públicas voláteis que conseguem pressionar o Estado a dar uma resposta apressada às controvérsias, resultando geralmente em leis e políticas públicas que restringem direitos sexuais (IRVINE, 2007). Este é o modelo que se desenha em diversas situações narradas por Natividade em seu livro. ...
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... Other studies have demonstrated that settings produce emotions and behavioral responses (Curtis, 2010;Hawkins & Abrams, 2007). The current study's findings accorded with the work of J. M. Irvine (2007), who suggested that particular configurations of "scripts," the performance of the "actors," and the "staging" are each important. ...
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... Such were the terms, for example, of the more than 800 local controversies over sex education that flared across the USA in the 1990s (Irvine, 2006;Kendall, 2013). Dubbed "moral panics," scholars have shown how these controversies were fueled by the religious right, which mobilized carefully calculated, emotionally charged rhetoric to steer public anxieties over how sex is taught in schools toward conservative political ends (di Mauro & Joffe, 2007;Irvine, 2008). ...
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This article is a contribution to current efforts to meet the political and theoretical challenges that contemporary moral conservatism poses to feminisms. In Paraguay and Brazil, observers are often perplexed by the all-too-common invocations, by Christian politicians, of sacred entities as indisputable grounds for acts of government. Such invocations are often regarded as deviations from laïcité as a founding principle of the national liberal democratic tradition and a symbol of modernity. We revisit recent critical events in order to take issue with the theoretical and political assessment of “conservative” moral values and representations as predominantly “religious.” As turning points in national politics, saturated with symbolism and emotional overtones, the congressional deliberations leading to the impeachments of Fernando Lugo and Dilma Rousseff were easily read in a characteristically secularist key. In our analysis of the discourse of legislators, we address the role of family tropes and the production of moral panics as expressive of a specific moral grammar. We discuss the discursive construction of the family as a sacred entity and focus on the gendered national order performed in these events.
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School-based sex education (SBSE) represents an attempt on the part of institutions to interrupt and correct the sexual socialization of young people. In this examination of scholarship on SBSE, I provide an overview of the field of academic approaches to SBSE and argue for the application of a variety of sociological frameworks to future studies. Much of the extant sociological literature on SBSE tends to focus on the implications that political rhetoric has for policy and funding, curricula, and stakeholder perspectives. In this paper, I will discuss this literature vis-a-vis the structural level (e.g. policy, law, funding). Further, because both structure and interaction are embedded in cultural contexts, I will discuss the role of culture as treated in the literature. I will then discuss the scholarly criticisms of SBSE contained in the literature as opportunities for sociological article of SBSE.
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The nature of collective perception of prostitution is understudied in Canada. Except some rudimentary reports on the percentages of the key legal options, multivariate analysis has never been used to analyze the details of public opinion on prostitution. The current study explores the trend of public attitude toward prostitution acceptability in Canada over a 25-year span and examines the social determinants of the acceptability of prostitution, using structural equation modeling (SEM), which allows researchers to elaborate both direct and indirect effects (through mediating variables) on the outcome variable. Results show that the public has become more acceptant of prostitution over time. In addition, the less religious, less authoritarian, and more educated are more acceptant of prostitution than the more religious, more authoritarian, and less well educated. The effects of religiosity and authoritarianism mediate out the direct effects of age, gender, gender equality, marriage, marriage as an outdated institution, Quebec, race, and tolerance. The findings may serve as a reference point for the law reform regarding the regulation of prostitution in Canada.
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Young Latinas living in the United States experience inordinate sexual and reproductive health outcome disparities. However, though prioritized as subjects for prevention, they are also often denied sexual agency. Purpose This article reports the results of a study conducted to examine young Latino/a participants' perspectives on communicating and learning about sexuality in school and family settings. Methods A Photovoice project was conducted with 20 Latino/a high school students. Each participant received a digital camera to take photos for 2 discussion sessions. Participants discussed select photos in relation to self-generated topics. Results One overarching theme, double standards in expectations about sexual communication, and 2 related subthemes, contrasting gender expectations in sexual desire and pleasure and confirming ideologies in sexual taboos and disconnections, emerged during discussions. Discussion The persistence of a double standard placing responsibility for sexual protection on young women indicates a need to design health education programs centered on a critical examination of gendered and sexual expectations. Translation to Health Education Practice Research findings on gender inequities should be translated to health education practice. In sexuality education this means conducting activities that address subjectivity and agency as they are accorded to participants in their everyday lives.
Article
This article offers ethnographic and autoethnographic vignettes from my research on cultures of public sex in Austin, Texas. It also tracks some of the ways my own racialization as a black queer man shaped the research project. My approach, which includes an experimental – ‘reparative’ – textual style, offers several interlocking registers of analysis. I bring together my informants' nostalgic remembrances of public sex in Austin; the legal and media circulation of queer sex in general, and public sex in particular, as specifically ‘public’ problems requiring surveillance, administration, and management; the impacts of HIV/AIDS; and the rise of the Internet as a means to connect. In this way, I not only aim to archive sites of desire and their transformation, but to also archive the everyday and intimate affects that animate, make sense of, and give meaning to queerspaces and sexpublics in Austin as elsewhere. In its eclectic mixes of voices and styles, as well as reality and fiction, my ethnography does not simply describe material geographies (men have sex in parks and hook up online) or linear timelines (first there was public sex and then there was AIDS), rather, gesturing as it does toward a psychic geography of intensities, remembrances, and longings, it tries to conjure an expansive affective archive into brief life.
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Nativism does not only present a concept, but also an ideological framework as well as a political practice related to identity politics. In the article we firstly present the theoretical reflection of nativism and operationalise the most important terms and characteristics of this phenomenon. Later, we apply the concept of nativism to the analysis of conservative populist and/or nativist political actors in the Central European region. The analysis shows how nativism, as a relatively peripheral issue in the first 10–15 years after the democratic transition, became stronger in the next period characterised by a set of crises after 2008. The analysis demonstrates how the mainstream parties in Central Europe adopted the nativist and conservative populist agenda and implemented it into mainstream politics. Furthermore, the analysis shows how Central European nativism correlates with the long-term existence of antiliberal streams that were revitalised after the fall of Communist regimes. These anti-modern societal groups were reformulated as the counter-cosmopolitan camp within the polarisation process that is clearly visible in the political arena. Keywords: nativism; national conservatism; identity politics; Central Europe
Article
Povzetek. V članku se ukvarjamo s sodobno obliko emocionalne politične komunikacije, posebej nas zanima populizem kot oblika politike, ki na ljudi apelira primarno na emocionalni ravni. Opozorimo na problematičnost emocionalizacije populističnih diskurzov, ki se kaže v legitimizaciji agresivne retorike, manipuliranju emocij, emotivizmu in ustvarjanju antagonističnih kolektivov. Na podlagi kritične ocene, da razumevanje političnosti emocij zahteva sistematično teoretizacijo emocij, se v zadnjem delu opremo na konceptualni okvir avtorice Sare Ahmed, s pomočjo katerega prikažemo performativno vlogo emocij in njihovo »lepljivost«, zlasti sovražnih emocij. Analiza pokaže, da teorija premikajočih se in »lepljivih« emocij ter afektov omogoča boljše razumevanje vloge emocij v političnem diskurzu, zlasti desnega populizma. Ključni pojmi: politična komunikacija, politični diskurz, emocije, sovraštvo, populizem, Sara Ahmed
Article
Public controversies are an analytical opportunity to study the emergence of issues, the creation and alliance of actors, as well as the articulation of public arenas (politics, society, activism, academia, etc.). This paper analyzes how two actors in Spanish academia emerged, and how they became an expression of the polarized conflict on prostitution, sex work, and sex trafficking. Through a case study, this work traces the emergence and consolidation in the public space of the #universidadsincensura initiative and the International Academic Network for the Study of Prostitution and Pornography (Red Académica Internacional de Estudios sobre Prostitución y Pornografía, Raiepp). Methodologically, the technique of controversy mapping is applied through an analysis of the first phase of the controversy on Twitter with the hashtags #universidadsincensura and #universidadsinprostitucion and the monitoring of the platform’s activities based on active participation in the #universidadsincensura initiative. The analysis shows that both actors emerge in line with the logics of the mediatized public space linked to a presence in media and networks. Endowed with different degrees of institutionalization, Raiepp and #universidadsincensura form the same public, that of those directly or indirectly affected by the public problem surrounding the status of prostitution, for which they seek a solution through a process of enquiry and experimentation that defines democratic participation. Resumen Las controversias públicas son una oportunidad analítica para estudiar la emergencia de asuntos, creación y alianza de actores, así como la articulación de arenas públicas (política, sociedad, activismo, academia, etc.). A través de un estudio de caso este artículo rastrea la aparición y consolidación en la Academia de dos actores que visibilizan el conflicto polarizado sobre prostitución, trabajo sexual y trata con fines de explotación sexual, y que se materializan en #universidadsincensura y la Red Académica Internacional de Estudios sobre Prostitución y Pornografía (Raiepp). Metodológicamente se aplica la técnica de mapeo de controversias, a través de un análisis de la primera fase de la polémica en Twitter –con los hashtags #universidadsincensura y #universidadsinprostitucion– y el seguimiento de las actividades de las plataformas, desde la participación activa en la iniciativa #universidadsincensura. El análisis muestra que ambos actores emergen en consonancia con las lógicas del espacio público mediatizado, vinculados a la presencia en medios y redes. Dotados de grados de institucionalización distintos, Raiepp y #universidadsincensura conforman un mismo público, el de los afectados directa o indirectamente por el problema público en torno al estatuto de la prostitución, al que buscan solución a través de un proceso de indagación y experimentación que define la participación democrática.
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This article reproduces and discusses a series of blog posts posted by academics in anticipation of the report on commercialisation, sexualisation and childhood, ‘Letting Children Be Children’ by Reg Bailey for the UK Department of Education in June 2011. The article discusses the difficulty of ‘translating’ scholarly work for the public in a context where ‘impact’ is increasingly important and the challenges that academics face in finding new ways of speaking about sex in public.
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Since the 2008 Australian Senate Inquiry into the Sexualisation of Children in the Contemporary Media Environment, both the British and Scottish governments have conducted their own inquiries into the role that mediated representations of sex and/or sexuality play in the lives of children and young people. At the same time, scholars, commentators, activists and educators have continued to debate the boundaries between 'art' and 'pornography' in representations of children and young people; and the boundaries between 'appropriate' and 'inappropriate' content in popular and educational material for children and young people. This article introduces the multidisciplinary approach taken in this special issue of Media International Australia, which the editors hope will promote positive strategic approaches to promoting safety, agency and well-being for children and young people.
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This article seeks to examine how affect theory might offer a complementary explanation and thus deepen understanding of the ability of destinations to continue to attract tourists (or not). The study is based on over twenty years of qualitative analysis and observation of Monaco and Tahiti and its Islands. These are well-recognized tourism destinations but they display very different levels of attractivity. Knowledge acquired from studying other destinations has also been relied on to reveal how even non-representational social processes actively influence tourist performance and hence the future of destinations. This theoretical turn to affect theory has been inspired by the call to add emotions, affects and senses for a more critical examination of tourism practices.
Chapter
Für etwa ein Jahrhundert bildete die ‚Homosexualität‘ ein soziales Problem im eigentlichen Sinne: als ein zu beseitigender Missstand. Der Aufsatz zeigt Aufstieg und Auflösung der Entwertung zwischen 1850 und heute. Hierbei wurden beide Seiten aktiv; Problematisierer und Betroffene reagierten aufeinander. Als eliminatorische Mittel kamen zum Einsatz: Heilen – Wegschließen in einer Irrenanstalt oder im Gefängnis – Mundtotmachen – Entzug von Arbeit, Einkommen, Wohnung und sozialem Netzwerk. Die Mittel des Widerstands waren nicht entfernt so massiv: kognitive Argumente – moralische Appelle – Selbstoffenbarung – Binnenorganisation – Scham-Umkehr durch Identitätsbildung. Entscheidend für die Entstigmatisierung scheint gewesen zu sein, was die Homosexuellen selbst zu ihrer Emanzipation getan haben, angestachelt durch die gesellschaftlichen Feindseligkeiten.
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A partir dos conceitos norteadores de circulação e de individuação do acontecimento, analisa-se a circulação do acontecimento “o voto de Jair Bolsonaro no impeachment de Dilma Rousseff ”.1 Trata-se de uma leitura da circulação em portais de notícias e nas redes sociais digitais em torno do voto do então deputado federal Jair Messias Bolsonaro na sessão de autorização do processo de impedimento da presidenta do país. Na ocasião, ele realiza uma espécie de “ode à ditadura militar” na declaração de seu voto,2 favorável ao impeachment da primeira presidenta mulher da história do país, que possui um passado de militante torturada e presa durante aquele período político. Dentre as alegações, ele dedica seu voto ao coronel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, por sua vez reconhecido pela Justiça brasileira como torturador durante a ditadura. Entende-se “o voto de Bolsonaro” como um acontecimento que não está somente inscrito na ordem do que ocorre, mas, conforme proposto por Quéré (2005), de quando ele acontece e como afeta a sociedade. Parte-se, então, da reflexão de que o voto convoca um passado e abre um horizonte de possibilidades, isto é, o passado e o seu contexto de inserção são compreendidos em função dos novos sentidos possibilitados pelo acontecimento. Essa potencialidade do voto é enfatizada com as inúmeras afetações que traz à sociedade, ao mesmo tempo em que é aflorada por meio da circulação de sentidos que redimensiona o voto como um acontecimento, o qual, por sua vez, relaciona-se a um macroacontecimento.
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En los medios de comunicación marroquíes, la figura de la prostituta ha pasado a ser un icono cultural. Este artículo analiza desde una perspectiva comparada dos formas diferentes de representación en dos películas marroquíes: Casablanca by Night (Mostafa Darkaoui, 2003) y Much Loved (Nabyl Ayouch, 2016). En el primer caso la figura de la prostituta se corresponde con la idea hegemónica y moral que el gran público tiene sobre la prostitución en Marruecos. En el segundo caso se lleva a cabo un retrato extraído de la experiencia directa de las prostitutas. El principal objetivo de este artículo es definir temas prevalentes como el delito, la inmoralidad, la probreza, la enfermedad y la violencia, que normalmente se asocian con la prostitución en Marruecos a través de los medios de comunicación. Nuestro segundo objetivo es analizar como estos temas se despliegan de forma diferente en estas dos películas y porqué dieron lugar a una fuerte controversia social en el caso de la segunda. Argumentaremos que CBN utiliza “mecanismos de neutralización” de carácter cinematográfico y social. ML, por el contrario, adopta una perspectiva realista. A mayor nivel de realismo y de representación moderna de la prostitución, mayor nivel de controversia social y polarización.
Article
This research contributes to social movement framing theory about frame variation, along with the social problems literature on child protectionism. I extend the theorizing on frames by arguing that frame variation can be a response to new agendas and goals of countermovements and opponents. Specifically, for opponents to rights activism, frame variation can be reaction to the assertion of rights for new protagonists, specifically their entry into new spaces. This study analyzes frame variation of the most deleterious child protectionist claims about stranger danger, assertions that the presence of racial, gender, and sexual others in public spaces will harm children. This paper is a content analysis of political flyers and messages developed by Religious Right campaigns at the state and municipal level between 1974 and 2013; these campaigns framed gay men and transgender woman as threats to children in classrooms and bathrooms. For both gay men and transgender women, these claims were most common at the start of rights advocacy. I argue that challengers make the most overt, deleterious arguments about harm to children when new groups initially advocate for legal rights and access to new spaces; as marginalized groups become more familiar and less "strange," challengers make more covert claims about these groups, as stranger danger claims have waning cultural and political resonance. © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All rights reserved.
Article
This article contends that the rhetoric and logics of intimacy in Australia’s border security regime are central to dividing desirable from undesirable mobility, by distinguishing ‘deserving’ from ‘undeserving’ refugees in a politics of differential compassion. Insofar as intimacy is tied to senses of closeness and identification as well as ideas of morality and love, it is deployed by anti-refugee and pro-refugee advocates to cultivate certain affects (antipathy or sympathy, feelings of distance or belonging) by appealing to notions of strangeness vs commonality, victims versus perpetrators, moral similitude versus moral incompatibility, and corresponding values versus incommensurable ones. Focusing on the discourse surrounding the Asia-Australian border security regime that incarcerates refugees arriving by boat in offshore ‘processing centres’, this article demonstrates that sensationalist and sentimentalist portrayals of refugees as sexual perpetrators or sexual victims in media, government and political discourse work in tandem with a politics of differential compassion, privileging some refugees over others. It also traces how intimacy can generate alternative bordering practices by mobilizing feminine moral authority in networks of care to generate meaningful and material relationships with refugees that sometimes serve as the ground for a more transformative solidarity.
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In this presidential address, I advance a theoretical sketch on racialized emotions—the emotions specific to racialized societies. These emotions are central to the racial edifice of societies, thus, analysts and policymakers should understand their collective nature, be aware of how they function, and appreciate the existence of variability among emoting racial subjects. Clarity on these matters is key for developing an effective affective politics to challenge any racial order. After the sketch, I offer potential strategies to retool our racial emotive order as well as our racial selves. I end my address urging White sociologists to acknowledge the significance of racism in sociology and the emotions it engenders and to work to advance new personal and organizational anti-racist practices.
Book
Cambridge Core - African History - Politicizing Sex in Contemporary Africa - by Ashley Currier
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This book brings rhetorical, legal, and professional communication perspectives to the discourse surrounding policy-making efforts within the United States around two types of violent crimes against women: domestic violence and sexual assault. The authors propose that such analysis adds to our understanding of rhetorical concepts such as kairos, risk perception, moral panic, genre analysis, and identity theory. Overall, the goal is to demonstrate how rhetorical, legal, and professional communication perspectives work together to illuminate public discourse and conflict in such complicated and ongoing dilemmas as how to aid victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and how to manage the offenders of such crimes-social and cultural problems that continue to perplex the legal system and the social environment.
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Teenagers have sex. While almost all parents understand that many teenagers are sexually active, there is a paradox in many parents' thinking: they insist their own teen children are not sexual, but characterize their children's peers as sexually-driven and hypersexual. Rather than accuse parents of being in denial, Sinikka Elliott teases out the complex dynamics behind this thinking, demonstrating that it is rooted in fears and anxieties about being a good parent, the risks of teen sexual activity, and teenagers' future economic and social status. Parents-like most Americans-equate teen sexuality with heartache, disease, pregnancy, promiscuity, and deviance and want their teen children to be protected from these things. Going beyond the hype and controversy, Elliott examines how a diverse group of American parents of teenagers understand teen sexuality, showing that, in contrast to the idea that parents are polarized in their beliefs, parents are confused, anxious, and ambivalent about teen sexual activity and how best to guide their own children's sexuality. Framed with an eye to the debates about teenage abstinence and sex education in school, Elliott also links parents' understandings to the contradictory messages and broad moral panic around child and teen sexuality. Ultimately, Elliott considers the social and cultural conditions that might make it easier for parents to talk with their teens about sex, calling for new ways of thinking and talking about teen sexuality that promote social justice and empower parents to embrace their children as fully sexual subjects.
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In the summer of 2015, the “cheating website” known as Ashley Madison came under scrutiny, as a group calling itself the Impact Team revealed users’ private information. This case study explores the controversy’s Canadian media coverage and sheds light on the main discourses about intimacy and the Internet that were made visible during this event. It interrogates how cheaters, hackers, and the company were represented. To varying degrees, the mainstream press condemns the cheaters, the hackers, and the company for their behaviour. The article also addresses the ways intimate practices are politicized and commercialized in the digital context, including a discussion of the emphasis on “privacy.” To conclude the article, I discuss the transparency and privacy issues implicated in digital intimacies and the power–knowledge (im)balance implied by hackers’ online anonymity.
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A palavra sororidade, uma espécie de sentimento de irmandade entre mulheres, sequer chegou aos dicionários, mas já motiva uma série de textos ativistas, jornalísticos e publicitários dispersos na internet. Neste artigo, faço uma análise do discurso foucaultiana das definições de sororidade presentes nos links mais compartilhados sobre o tema em sites de redes sociais. Dois eixos são explorados: a associação do conceito ao campo semântico dos sentimentos, especialmente à empatia; e as diferentes origens atribuídas à sororidade, vista ora como parte de uma essência feminina, ora como resultado de uma postura ético-política desenvolvida a partir da sociabilidade entre mulheres. A investigação do conceito revela, a partir de uma perspectiva de gênero, o nexo entre sentimentos, moralidade e política em processos comunicacionais contemporâneos.
Article
This article revisits cultural controversies over female public nudity in Thai society. It uses Songkran’s topless dancing in 2011 and a bare-breast painting performance on the ‘Thailand’s Got Talent Show’ in 2012 to explore cultural and emotional clashes in Thailand’s 21st century. It shows that these two cases of public female nudity drew deep and divergent emotional responses from different groups in Thai society. These cases clearly revealed a clash in viewpoints with regard to Thai notions of feminine respectability associated with national identity and women’s sexual expression. On the one hand, the controversies prompted moral panic and backlashes against women’s sexual rebelliousness. On the other hand, they set off counter-backlashes against hegemonic discourse that tends to normalise oppressive sexual culture, nationalism and totalitarianism.
Article
This article compares two analytical frameworks ostensibly formulated to widen the focus of moral panic studies. The comparative analysis suggests that attempts to conceptualize moral panics in terms of decivilizing processes have neither substantively supplemented the explanatory gains made by conceptualizing moral panic as a form of moral regulation nor provided a viable alternative framework that better explains the dynamics of contemporary moral panics. The article concludes that Elias's meta-theory of the civilizing process potentially provides explanatory resources to investigate a possible historical-structural shift towards the so-called age of (a)moral panic; the analytical demands of such a project, however, require a sufficiently different line of inquiry than the one encouraged by both the regulatory and decivilizing perspectives on moral panic.
Article
The Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) offers treatment to sex offenders civilly confined after they complete their prison sentences. In this article, we enhance the notion of kairos in rhetorical situations with the perceptions of risk and the sociological concept of moral panic by tracing three kairotic moments involving MSOP: The 1992 Dennis Linehan civil commitment case; the 2003 murder of college student Dru Sjodin; and the 2012 provisional discharge of Clarence Opheim. We examine the political, public, and media response to these events and provide the results of 21 interviews with stakeholders. In doing so, we hope to illustrate how moral panic and risk perception can so influence what seems the right choice at the right time that stakeholders may get caught in what we call kairotic cycles, where solutions to a problem are stymied by competing perceptions and by entrenched positions that reoccur over time and without resolution.
Article
There is a common impulse within academic research on sexuality education to draw on the notion of moral panic in order to better understand 'unreasonable' and emotional opposition to the implementation of sexuality education programs. The aim of this article is to interrogate this tendency to classify religious opposition to the sexuality education curriculum as suggestive of a 'moral panic'. I begin with a brief discussion of how the notion of 'moral panic' is commonly used in academic and popular discourse, and proceed to a discussion of 'moral panic' in the field of sexuality education, specifically focusing on the work of US researcher Janice Irvine. I also consider some research on recent South Australian controversies related to sexuality education in schools. Finally, I consider the attribution of 'moral panic' in accounting for religious opposition to sexuality education as a secular formation.
Article
This article examines the emergence of digital homophobia in Indonesia as an assemblage of homophobic discourses imbued with a language of urgency, technological infrastructures, and punitive laws on non-normative sexualities. The internationalisation of LGBT rights has provided discursive capital for anti-LGBT groups to generate affective qualities (fear and moral panic), positioning queer people as a ‘threat’ to national identity, ‘traditional values’, and ‘vectors of disease’ intent on ‘converting’ others to homosexuality. Moreover, technological infrastructure, such as social media, fosters and amplifies the circulation of homophobic rhetoric. Such technologies have enabled citizens to persecute and shame LGBT people directly, and increasingly demand that the state enact punitive laws on gender and sexuality through the use of online petitions and other online surveillance practices that affect queer people beyond the digital space. These movements are legally justified by existing regulations, often associating homosexuality with pornography and social indecency, manifested in local and national laws that do not always specifically target homosexuality. As a result, digital homophobia moves beyond the online space, deeply affecting the material life of the Indonesian queer community and activism. For instance, activists, fearing reprisal, have begun carrying out their activities surreptitiously. This analysis makes a contribution to existing scholarship on global homophobia, surveillance, and technocultural and sexual globalisation by highlighting the interplay of technology, homophobic discourses, and public policy in responding to the proliferation of international LGBT rights discourses.
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It is now over twenty years since the well-established sociology of deviance along with the emergent sociology of mass media produced the concept of 'moral panic'. The various studies of youth culture, drugtakers and the media reaction to these and other phenomena produced some of the most important work in post-war British sociology. This article argues that it is now time that every stage in the process of constructing a moral panic, as well as the social relations which support it, should be revised. It suggests that more attention should be paid to the consequences of the great expansion of the media and to the many more participants involved in public debate (including, for example, commercial promotions departments and pressure groups). We argue that 'folk devils' are less marginalized than they once were; they not only find themselves vociferously and articulately supported in the same mass media that castigates them, but their interests are also defended by their own niche and micro-media. Finally, the article suggests that what were more stable points of social control have undergone some degree of shift, if not transformation.
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The recent explosion of cultural work on social movements has been highly cognitive in its orientation, as though researchers were still reluctant to admit that strong emotions accompany protest. But such emotions do not render protestors irrational; emotions accompany all social action, providing both motivation and goals. Social movements are affected by transitory, context-specific emotions, usually reactions to information and events, as well as by more stable affective bonds and loyalties. Some emotions exist or arise in individuals before they join protest groups; others are formed or reinforced in collective action itself. The latter type can be further divided into shared and reciprocal emotions, the latter being feelings that protestors have toward each other.
Book
Most of the people around us belong to our world not directly, as kin or comrades, but as strangers. How do we recognize them as members of our world? We are related to them as transient participants in common publics. Indeed, most of us would find it nearly impossible to imagine a social world without publics. In the eight essays in this book, Michael Warner addresses the question: What is a public? According to Warner, the idea of a public is one of the central fictions of modern life. Publics have powerful implications for how our social world takes shape, and much of modern life involves struggles over the nature of publics and their interrelations. The idea of a public contains ambiguities, even contradictions. As it is extended to new contexts, politics, and media, its meaning changes in ways that can be difficult to uncover. Combining historical analysis, theoretical reflection, and extensive case studies, Warner shows how the idea of a public can reframe our understanding of contemporary literary works and politics and of our social world in general. In particular, he applies the idea of a public to the junction of two intellectual traditions: public-sphere theory and queer theory.
Article
This article provides a comprehensive survey of the use of the term 'moral panic' from its coinage in 1972 until the present day. It traces the evolution of the term in academic sociology and criminology, its adoption by the media in the mid-1980s and its subsequent employment in the national press. It shows how and why the term changed its meaning, and how far its use in academic discourse affected its use in the media. The article traces the development of 'moral panic' in the media, where it was first used pejoratively, then rejected for being pejorative, and finally rehabilitated as a term of approval. It explains why the term developed as it did: how it enabled journalists to justify the moral and social role of the media, and also to support the reassertion of 'family values' in the early 1990s. The article concludes by considering the relationship between 'moral panic' and moral language in general. This is a more speculative analysis of the term, drawing on the work of moral philosophers and attempting to predict how 'moral panic' may develop in the future. 'Moral panic', I suggest, is an unsatisfactory form of moral language which may adversely affect the media's ability to handle moral issues seriously.
Book
This insightful new conceptualization of American political history demonstrates that--despite the clear separation of church and state--religion lies at the heart of American politics. From the Puritan founding to the present day, the American story is a moral epic, James Morone says, and while moral fervor has inspired the dream of social justice it has also ignited our fiercest social conflicts. From the colonial era to the present day, Americans embraced a Providential mission, tangled with devils, and aspired to save the world. Moral fervor ignited our fiercest social conflicts--but it also moved dreamers to remake the nation in the name of social justice. Moral crusades inspired abolition, woman suffrage, and civil rights, even as they led Americans to hang witches, enslave Africans, and ban liquor. Today these moral arguments continue, influencing the debate over everything from abortion to foreign policy. Written with passion and deep insight, Hellfire Nation tells the story of a brawling, raucous, religious people. Morone shows how fears of sin and dreams of virtue defined the shape of the nation.
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In The Art of Moral Protest, James Jasper integrates diverse examples of protest—from nineteenth-century boycotts to recent movements—into a distinctive new understanding of how social movements work. Jasper highlights their creativity, not only in forging new morals but in adopting courses of action and inventing organizational forms. "A provocative perspective on the cultural implications of political and social protest."—Library Journal
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Public Culture 14.1 (2002) 49-90 This essay has a public. If you are reading (or hearing) this, you are part of its public. So first let me say: Welcome. Of course, you might stop reading (or leave the room), and someone else might start (or enter). Would the public of this essay therefore be different? Would it ever be possible to know anything about the public to which, I hope, you still belong? What is a public? It is a curiously obscure question, considering that few things have been more important in the development of modernity. Publics have become an essential fact of the social landscape, and yet it would tax our understanding to say exactly what they are. Several senses of the noun public tend to be intermixed in usage. People do not always distinguish between the public and a public, although in some contexts this difference can matter a great deal. The public is a kind of social totality. Its most common sense is that of the people in general. It might be the people organized as the nation, the commonwealth, the city, the state, or some other community. It might be very general, as in Christendom or humanity. But in each case the public, as a people, is thought to include everyone within the field in question. This sense of totality is brought out in speaking of the public, even though to speak of a national public implies that others exist; there must be as many publics as polities, but whenever one is addressed as the public, the others are assumed not to matter. A public can also be a second thing: a concrete audience, a crowd witnessing itself in visible space, as with a theatrical public. Such a public also has a sense of totality, bounded by the event or by the shared physical space. A performer on stage knows where her public is, how big it is, where its boundaries are, and what the time of its common existence is. A crowd at a sports event, a concert, or a riot might be a bit blurrier around the edges, but still knows itself by knowing where and when it is assembled in common visibility and common action. I will return to both of these senses, but what I mainly want to clarify in this essay is a third sense of public: the kind of public that comes into being only in relation to texts and their circulation -- like the public of this essay. (Nice to have you with us, still.) The distinctions among these three senses are not always sharp and are not simply the difference between oral and written contexts. When an essay is read aloud as a lecture at a university, for example, the concrete audience of hearers understands itself as standing in for a more indefinite audience of readers. And often, when a form of discourse is not addressing an institutional or subcultural audience, such as members of a profession, its audience can understand itself not just as a public but as the public. In such cases, different senses of audience and circulation are in play at once. Examples like this suggest that it is worth understanding the distinctions better, if only because the transpositions among them can have important social effects. The idea of a public, as distinct from both the public and any bounded audience, has become part of the common repertoire of modern culture. Everyone intuitively understands how it works. On reflection, however, its rules can seem rather odd. I would like to bring some of our intuitive understanding into the open in order to speculate about the history of the form and the role it plays in constructing our social world. 1. A public is self-organized. A public is a space of discourse organized by nothing other than discourse itself. It is autotelic; it exists only as the end for which books are published, shows broadcast, Web sites posted, speeches delivered, opinions produced. It exists by virtue of being addressed. A kind of chicken-and-egg circularity confronts us in the idea of a public. Could anyone speak publicly without addressing a public? But how...
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Reviews the book, Crowds, Psychology, and Politics, 1871-1899 by Jaap van Ginneken (see record 1992-98295-000 ). This book is the result of many years of enthusiasm for the subject, persistent archival work--at times with the intensity of a bloodhound--and interviews with descendants of key figures, always with an eye both for a good story and for matters of conceptual significance. The author draws attention to the role of the widely read historian, Taine, in embedding a consciousness of the crowd's place in political life. If the theorists of the crowd had one thing in common, it was a preoccupation with law and order and with the capacity of science to underwrite effective policing. Thus, as van Ginneken intends, his book is not so much about the background of social psychology as of political psychology, the understanding of so-called mass society with all its attendant pressures to uncover and direct political influence. This is why Tarde emerges as the most significant figure, because he moved on more effectively than other writers to replace interest in the passive crowd with interest in active public opinion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Recent work in the sociology of emotions has gone beyond the development of concepts and broad perspectives to elaboration of theory and some empirical research. More work has been done at the micro-level than the macro-level of analysis. At both analytical levels, emotion most commonly is treated as a dependent variable, although increasingly, its role as an intervening and independent variable in social processes is being recognized, especially with regard to problems in substantive fields as diverse as gender roles, stress, small groups, social movements, and stratification. Considerable gaps exist in sociological knowledge about emotions; in particular, little is known about distribution of different emotional experiences in the population, the content of emotion culture, emotional socialization processes, emotional interactions, and relationships between social structure and emotion norms. More empirical research is necessary, to build on the theoretical groundwork that has been laid. Problems in mea...
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This article examines the emotional dynamics of local sex panics over sex education. It argues that local sex panics are not spontaneous eruptions of community outrage; they are political events with a strikingly scripted quality. Sex panics are fueled by emotional scripts—rhetoric strategically crafted to produce volatile emotional responses. In turn, these emotional scripts produce heated emotions—anger and disgust—displayed in ritualized ways in public arenas. In local sex panics we see that emotions are neither irrational nor simply spontaneous; rather they are norm-bound behavior and often meaningful forms of social and political communication produced in response to emotional scripts. The emotions of sex panics represent a means by which moral entrepreneurs attempt to reinforce conservative sexual morality.
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Over the past decade many analysts of collective action from the political-process and social-constructionist perspectives have sought to bring ideology back into the analysis of social movements through the analysis of framing. Anchored in Go¡man’s frame-analytic perspective and strands of collective behavior, frame analysis has provided a window on how collective actors construct an interpretive schema that underlies mobilization and sustains action. Frame analysis critically highlights processes of signi¢cation as a key dynamic for collective action. However, while it usefully focuses on the ideological problems, its proponents have largely failed to problematize the role of discourse in these processes. While the ideological visions structured by frames are exposed as contested and dynamic, the discourse used in framing is taken to be a generally straight-forward bearer of meanings. In this article, I argue that this referential perspective on discourse both poses problems for the analysis of frames and ignores important semiotic dynamics of the framing process. Drawing on the discourse theory of the Bakhtin Circle and recent work in sociocultural psychology, I propose an alternative framework emphasizing the analysis of discursive repertoires.
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Reviews the book `The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society,` by Jurgen Habermas, translated by Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence.
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Emotions are back. Once at the center of the study of politics, emotions have receded into the shadows during the past three decades, with no place in the rationalistic, structural, and organizational models that dominate academic political analysis. With this new collection of essays, Jeff Goodwin, James M. Jasper, and Francesca Polletta reverse this trend, reincorporating emotions such as anger, indignation, fear, disgust, joy, and love into research on politics and social protest. The tools of cultural analysis are especially useful for probing the role of emotions in politics, the editors and contributors to Passionate Politics argue. Moral outrage, the shame of spoiled collective identities, or the joy of imagining a new and better society, are not automatic responses to events. Rather, they are related to moral institutions, felt obligations and rights, and information about expected effects, all of which are culturally and historically variable. With its look at the history of emotions in social thought, examination of the internal dynamics of protest groups, and exploration of the emotional dynamics that arise from interactions and conflicts among political factions and individuals, Passionate Politics will lead the way toward an overdue reconsideration of the role of emotions in social movements and politics generally. Contributors: Rebecca Anne Allahyari Edwin Amenta Collin Barker Mabel Berezin Craig Calhoun Randall Collins Frank Dobbin Jeff Goodwin Deborah B. Gould Julian McAllister Groves James M. Jasper Anne Kane Theodore D. Kemper Sharon Erickson Nepstad Steven Pfaff Francesca Polletta Christian Smith Arlene Stein Nancy Whittier Elisabeth Jean Wood Michael P. Young
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Using extensive interviews, hundreds of transcripts, focus-group discussions with viewers, and his own experiences as an audience member, Joshua Gamson argues that talk shows give much-needed, high-impact public visibility to sexual nonconformists while also exacerbating all sorts of political tensions among those becoming visible. With wit and passion, Freaks Talk Back illuminates the joys, dilemmas, and practicalities of media visibility. "This entertaining, accessible, sobering discussion should make every viewer sit up and ponder the effects and possibilities of America's daily talk-fest with newly sharpened eyes."—Publishers Weekly "Bold, witty. . . . There's a lot of empirical work behind this deceptively easy read, then, and it allows for the most sophisticated and complex analysis of talk shows yet."—Elayne Rapping, Women's Review of Books "Funny, well-researched, fully theorized. . . . Engaged and humane scholarship. . . . A pretty inspiring example of what talking back to the mass media can be."—Jesse Berrett, Village Voice "An extraordinarily well-researched volume, one of the most comprehensive studies of popular media to appear in this decade."—James Ledbetter, Newsday
Article
Mods and Rockers, skinheads, video nasties, designer drugs, bogus asylum seeks and hoodies. Every era has its own moral panics. It was Stanley Cohen’s classic account, first published in the early 1970s and regularly revised, that brought the term ‘moral panic’ into widespread discussion. It is an outstanding investigation of the way in which the media and often those in a position of political power define a condition, or group, as a threat to societal values and interests. Fanned by screaming media headlines, Cohen brilliantly demonstrates how this leads to such groups being marginalised and vilified in the popular imagination, inhibiting rational debate about solutions to the social problems such groups represent. Furthermore, he argues that moral panics go even further by identifying the very fault lines of power in society.
Gender, Democracy, and Obscenity in New York City Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents; RubinThinking Sex”; Duggan and Hunter, Sex Wars
  • Andrea Friedman
  • Prurient
Andrea Friedman, Prurient Interests: Gender, Democracy, and Obscenity in New York City, 1909 – 1945 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000); Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents; Rubin, “Thinking Sex”; Duggan and Hunter, Sex Wars; Janice M. Irvine, “Emotional Scripts of Sex Panics,” Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC 3 (2006): 82 – 94.
Uncontrolled Desires’: The Response to the Sexual Psycho-pathThinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality,” in Vance, Pleasure and Danger; Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, Myths, and Modern Sexualities
  • See Estelle
See Estelle Freedman, “ ‘Uncontrolled Desires’: The Response to the Sexual Psycho-path, 1920 – 1960,” Journal of American History 74 (1987): 83 – 106; Gayle Rubin, “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality,” in Vance, Pleasure and Danger; Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, Myths, and Modern Sexualities (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985); Lisa Duggan and Nan D. Hunter, Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture (New York: Rout-ledge, 1995).
The Crowd and the Public, and Other Essays
  • Robert Park Ezra
Robert Ezra Park, The Crowd and the Public, and Other Essays (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), 76.
Uncontrolled Desires Moral Panic: Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in Modern America
  • Freedman
Freedman, " Uncontrolled Desires " ; Philip Jenkins, Moral Panic: Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in Modern America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).
Also, Diary of a Conference on Sexuality
  • Vance
  • Pleasure
  • Danger
Vance, Pleasure and Danger. Also, Diary of a Conference on Sexuality (New York: Barnard College Women's Center, 1982), 431– 39.
Rethinking 'Moral Panic' " ; Hunt, " 'Moral Panic' and Moral Language in the Media
  • Mcrobbie
  • Thornton
McRobbie and Thornton, " Rethinking 'Moral Panic' " ; Hunt, " 'Moral Panic' and Moral Language in the Media. "