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Keywords:

  • Moral panic;
  • moral regulation;
  • social control;
  • moral order;
  • ethical self-formation

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to tighten the focus of moral panic studies by clarifying and elaborating on an analytical framework that conceptualizes moral panic as a form of moral regulation. The first part of the article explains why moral panic should be conceptualized as a form of moral regulation. The second part presents a rejoinder to Critcher's (2009) critique of the widening focus of moral panic studies. The third part elaborates on the conceptual relationship between the sociologies of moral panic and moral regulation by offering fresh insights into the sociological and political importance of moral panic as a technique of liberal government.