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UK Street Gangs as the Product of ‘Myth and Moral Panic’ (Essay Sample)


UK Street Gangs as the Product of ‘Myth and Moral Panic’


UK Street Gangs as the Product of ‘Myth and Moral Panic’
Sample paper
UK Street Gangs as the Product of ‘Myth and Moral Panic’
Moral panic is the unjustified feeling of fear that a person or group of people would threaten the society’s values and interests. Myths are powerful constructions of reality since they address values and beliefs. Myth and moral panic are usually perpetuated by moral entrepreneurs and social media, and exacerbated by politicians and lawmakers. Examples of myth and moral panic are belief in ritual abuse of women and children by satanic cults, belief in widespread abduction of children by predatory pedophiles, and concern over music lyrics. Myth and moral panic is different form mass hysteria which is closely associated to psychological illness, it is a sociological phenomenon. The UK street gangs are products of myths and moral panics and they have grown due to distorted mass media campaigns which have created fear and reinforced previously held or stereotyped beliefs on their ruthlessness to the members of the society.
Politicians are protagonists in myth and moral panic. The basic premise surrounding myth and moral panic the concern that deviant behaviors from the street gang is disproportional to the immediate threat they pose. In keeping with Fitzgerald and Smoczyński (2021) those in power ultimately benefit from myths and moral panic since they lead to increases control of the people and reinforcement of the authority of the leaders. As such, moral panics offer mutually beneficial relationship between news media and the leaders. When the media report of moral panics the increase views and increase their income, while the state gets chances to enact legislations and laws that would appear illegitimate without perceived threat and the premise of the moral panic. Arguably, they spin the public opinions and present themselves as the safeguards of the moral high ground. Acting in response to the social need and in line to their electoral jurisdiction the leaders create a firm grip to their power by maneuvering the laws through sentiments brought about by myths and moral panics.
The media are particularly influential in creating and progressing moral panic. In most cases media coverage often displays folk devils as more belligerent to the society than the street and themselves. As illustrated by Sanders (2016), journalists feed the society with anxiety and fear and influences policies in various ways. First, the media select important issues that will be commercially viable for the business and problematize policies by attaching meaning to those issues. In this way they frame and construct narratives. Moral panics are experienced when mass media campaigns distort information to create fear and reinforce previously held stereotyped beliefs. In such instances, moral panics occur swiftly and they focus attention on the behavior and fluctuating concern overtime.
Selective and biased broadcasting have been used to illustrate the UK street gangs as unsociable people who need to be reformed and reintegrated to the society.
The law enforcement officials are essential in propagating myth and moral panic since they are responsible for upholding and enforcing the law within the society. The law enforcers are mandated to protect the society from folk devils by detecting, apprehending and punishing the wrongdoers. By demonizing the street gangs the police act as moral crusaders and protect (Hier, 2016). Through their action, the laws enforced instill fear to the society against street gangs making people to generally have a negative opinion to groups of people in the streets regardless of their place social structure. Most of the youth in the streets are jobs seekers and fun lovers who meet with a mutual purpose and not necessarily to cause turmoil and social disorder. According to Fleisher (2017), five major actors in the process of moral panic include the police, institutional authority figures, and the law enforcers. In brief, the media pl

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