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Stan Cohen and Jock Young to revisit 'moral panics' at Brunel conference


The sociologists who initiated and developed the concept of moral panic will be speaking at a three-day international conference at Brunel University on this theme, some 40 years after the idea first entered the textbooks.

Stan Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, and Kent University’s Professor Jock Young, coined the term in the early 1970s to refer to instances where the media’s reaction to a social problem can lead to a politically expedient solution.  

This  global academic meeting on the subject, called Moral Panics in The Contemporary World, will be held at Brunel University [December 10−12] and is the brainchild of Brunel student Amanda Rohloff, the co-organiser who is writing her doctoral thesis on the subject.

Amanda explains, "I thought it would useful to look at how the concept has developed and has continued to be used and whether it is still relevant to our understanding of social problems, fears and controversies."

Journalists as well as scholars in the field will be speaking. Brunel sociologist and co-organiser Dr Jason Hughes said: "The concept has become increasingly widely used to the point where it has come to gain an everyday currency, beyond the realm of academia. It’s now applied to range of issues such as health, lifestyle and the environment."

Speakers include Brunel’s Vice-Chancellor and sociologist Professor Chris Jenks, Professor Chas Critcher of Swansea University, Professor Catharine Lumby of the University of New South Wales and Associate Professor Sean Hier of the University of Victoria. James Oliver, the BBC Panorama producer of the Baby P programmes will also give a talk about reporting from inside a moral panic.

The conference will be held in the Hamilton Centre, Brunel University, Uxbridge, West London UB8 3PH:

Notes to Editors

For further information contact:

Brunel University Press Office:; 01895 265585
Communications Management: or; 01727 850761
Amanda Rohloff:; 07531 448175
Jason Hughes:; 01895 265633
Julian Petley:; 01895 265479