Moral Panics as Enacted Melodramas

  • Wright S
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This paper argues that a narrative lens is conducive toward a renewed understanding of moral panic. It is proposed that a melodramatic narrative frame that is central to the construction of news stories about crime is significant for conceptualizing what moral panics are and how they work. The paper will propose that moral panics can be seen as enacted melodramas, where the tradi-tional boundaries between newsmakers, interest groups and 'the public' are temporarily disman-tled and where everyday citizens experience the role of the suffering victim. This understanding provides insight toward appreciating why only some issues develop into moral panic in particular spaces and times and offers a new framework with which to approach the study of panic.

Author-supplied keywords

  • crime
  • media
  • melodrama
  • moral panic
  • narrative

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  • Sarah Wright

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