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Part Two begins with a dedication to Geoffrey Pearson and a commentary about his work. This is followed by five chapters that address some of the many issues and concerns surrounding young people, children and childhood; what links them is their use of a moral panic perspective (some more explicitly than others) to understand what is going on both in and behind the various anxieties that are discussed. Part Two, along with the other parts of the book, contains chapters that draw from the disciplines of sociology, social policy, psychology and social work. All the chapters in this Part highlight the importance of not taking things for granted and of questioning the basis of our beliefs. The social issues identified here all have consequences, often negative ones, for individuals and for society; such is the power of panics.

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We live in a world that is increasingly characterised as full of risk, danger and threat. Every day a new social issue emerges to assail our sensibilities and consciences. Drawing on the popular Economic Social and Research Council (ESRC) seminar series, this book examines these social issues and anxieties, and the responses to them, through the concept of moral panic. Revisiting Moral Panics begins with a commentary by Charles Critcher followed by twenty four contributions from both well-known and up-and-coming researchers and practitioners that address panics ranging from those surrounding the 2011 English riots to fears over ‘feral families’ in New Zealand. There are four parts: Gender and the family; Moral Panics in our time?: Childhood and youth; The State, government and citizens; and Moral crusades, moral regulation and morality. Each part is rounded off with an Afterword from a practitioner that lends a critical comment. Revisiting Moral Panics is a stimulating and innovative overview of moral panic ideas. It also provides a masterclass in their applicability, or otherwise, to contemporary anxieties and concerns.

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Childhood and youth have often been the targets of moral panic rhetoric. This Byte explores a series of pressing concerns about young people: child abuse, child pornography, child sexual exploitation, child trafficking and the concept of childhood. With an appraisal of the work of the influential thinker, Geoffrey Pearson, who wrote on deviance and young people, it draws attention to the moralising within these discourses and asks how we might do things differently.

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In common with the other bytes in this series, a key theorist within the ‘moral panic’ genre is introduced here. Although Geoffrey Pearson does not actually use the term ‘moral panic’ to outline the social reaction to issues and anxieties, his work has played a key part in the development of thinking around the issue of deviance, especially deviance associated with young people, a central theme within moral panic writings. For this reason, we have chosen to include him in this volume.

Geoffrey (Geoff) Pearson was born on 26 March 1943 in Manchester, England and studied moral sciences (Philosophy and Psychology) at Cambridge University. He worked with people with disabilities in Sheffield before going to the London School of Economics to undertake training in psychiatric social work (interestingly, Stan Cohen was also a qualified psychiatric social worker). After qualifying, he returned to Sheffield to practise as a psychiatric social worker. Pearson went on to become a Lecturer in Social Work at Sheffield Polytechnic, and then took up a similar position at University College, Cardiff. It was here that he published his first major work, The Deviant Imagination (1975), which examined the ideological underpinnings of a wide range of theories of deviance. This book also established Pearson's critical perspective on many of the policies and attitudes towards young people that were popular at that time, especially those that were built on ideas of young people's dangerousness.

In 1976, Pearson moved to the University of Bradford. Here he wrote Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears (1983), his most influential work; Hooligan was voted one of seven ‘iconic’ studies in British criminology in 2007.

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This chapter discusses the policy, practice, and attitudes that can restrict information for adopted people who seek access to adoption agency records. It focuses on the ‘closed’ adoptions of the 1950s–1970s – many of whose subjects are now seeking to trace their origins. The chapter illustrates how confidentiality for an agency and the birth parent(s) becomes a form of secrecy and gatekeeping for the adopted person seeking information. Despite changing attitudes towards adopted adults seeking information, it is argued that there are still ‘powerful beliefs’ that providing information on origins and adoptions may potentially be damaging. The chapter reflects on the ‘feelings of powerlessness’ which can be engendered by the process of adoption and considers the view that the adopted adult remains treated or viewed as a child. This infantilisation of adopted adults is reflected in institutional practices and in the reality that the power to control information about oneself lies elsewhere.

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In his article ‘Child sexual abuse, moral panics and emancipatory practice’ (Pilgrim, 2017), David Pilgrim seeks to use our book, Revisiting moral panics (Cree et al, 2015), to construct a straw man, which needs to be knocked down to preserve his own particular view of child sexual abuse. There are many problems in the way he does so, which we address in this response.

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We live in a world that is increasingly characterised as full of risk, danger and threat. Every day a new social issue emerges to assail our sensibilities and consciences. Drawing on the popular Economic Social and Research Council (ESRC) seminar series, this book examines these social issues and anxieties, and the solutions to them, through the concept of moral panic.

With a commentary by Charles Critcher and contributions from both well-known and up-and-coming researchers and practitioners, this is a stimulating and innovative overview of moral panic ideas, which will be an essential resource.

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This comments on all the contributions and goes on to observe that there is something deeply immoral in the promotion and maintenance of moral panics. The conclusion is that in order to move forward, we must claim an intellectual scepticism and give attention to the collateral damage that may be caused by inciting panic; we must also take responsibility to reclaim a moral, or certainly, an ethical dimension in how we respond to social concerns.

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