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2016 | 3(222) | 9-29

Article title

Mapping New Research Directions in the Sociology of Moral Panic


Title variants

Nowe kierunki badań w socjologii paniki moralnej

Languages of publication



This article maps the evolution of moral-panic studies, and in particular its recent developments, which strive to link the sociology of moral panics to social theory informed by the sociology of moral regulation. This new body of literature has not yet been systematically analysed. It emerged–after the initial British contribution and American-Israeli functionalist ‘second wave’–as a response to a perceived deficiency in the conventional model, which commonly conceptualized moral panics as irrational societal reactions to alleged threats. The recent approach explores moral panics as short-term global moral-governance techniques of advanced liberal societies. The author also discusses new lines of inquiry into the ‘productive’ function of moral panics by elaborating Durkheimian insights on moral panics, which are viewed as the claims-making that construct universal interpretations of an antagonistic situation and provide a surface for the inscription of the proponents’ collective identities.
W artykule przeprowadzono krytyczną analizę ewolucji socjologii paniki moralnej, zwłaszcza jej ostatnich przekształceń, które wypracowane zostały w kontekście dyskusji z badaniami nad zarządzaniem ryzykiem i socjologią moralnej regulacji. Ten nowy nurt badań opiera się na przekonaniu socjologów o nieadekwatności dotychczasowego modelu studiów nad panikami moralnymi, które konwencjonalnie określały wybuchy panik jako irracjonalne zachowania społeczne. Tymczasem analizowane przekształcenia konceptualne dla odmiany identyfikują panikę moralną w perspektywie neofunkcjonalistycznego paradygmatu jako krótkookresowe techniki „moralnego zarządzania” współczesnych społeczeństw ryzyka. Artykuł przedstawia także wybrane wątki socjologii durkheimowskiej, które mogą pogłębić studia nad panikami moralnymi w dobie późnej nowoczesności.





Physical description


  • Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii PAN, ul. Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warszawa


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