Still pressing panic button

January 31, 2013

I was saddened to learn of the death of Stanley Cohen (Obituary, 24 January). His classic tome Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers (1972) was used as a textbook when I was training to be a secondary school teacher during the mid to late 1970s. I particularly enjoyed this work, being an ex-rocker myself. I still chuckle about what we mods and rockers from a small town in Wiltshire were accused of by local “polite” society.

The behaviour identified by Folk Devils and Moral Panics remains with us today. For example, the day after David Cameron’s speech on the UK’s future in the European Union, press headlines were full of hogwash that the country was about to be swamped by Romanian and Bulgarian migrant workers, and that the UK would have to pay a daily fine of €250,000 (£213,000) for “failing to abide by the letter of EU rules on energy trading”. None of this was true.

Unfortunately, large sections of the British public believe the headlines in newspapers such as The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express, and there are few official attempts to puncture the myths they make up.

John Black, Bristol.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry