Professor Stanley Cohen: folk devils and moral panics

Third edition (Routledge, 2002).

Stan Cohen: folk devils and moral panics

Stanley Cohen's study of deviant groups - society's 'folk devils' - and the public and media reaction to them, is both a classic and a very current work of sociology. The book's conclusion is no less applicable today than when it was first published, 30 years ago: 'More moral panics will be generated and other, as yet nameless, folk devils will be created...our society as presently structured will continue to generate problems for some if its members... and then condemn whatever solution these groups find.'

In his new introduction to the third edition, Stanley Cohen reviews recent sociological theory and criticism about the concept of 'moral panics' and discusses the moral panics generated around the 'folk devils' of today: ecstasy and designer drugs; the death of James Bulger; the 'name and shame' campaign against suspected paedophiles; and the vilification of 'bogus' asylum seekers.

'Stan Cohen's Folk Devils and Moral Panics was a brilliant and subtle exercise in "grounded theory". It has proved consistently fertile for a great deal of new work in sociological analysis in the 30 years since its first publication and its critical idea of "moral panics" proved to be generative for a wide variety of scholars and research fields. In the new introduction to the third edition, an original piece of reflection on the vicarious pathways of its appropriation, and a wonderful reprise of its uses and abuses, Stan Cohen gently but steadily guides us back to its original illuminating intellectual core.' - Stuart Hall, Emeritus Professor, The Open University.

'[Cohen's] analysis is richly documented and convincingly presented... Altogether this is a book full of insight, which should lead us to a painful reappraisal of our traditional methods and indeed our whole philosophy for coping with deviants and handling rebellious youth.' New Society, of the first edition.