Marcello Maneri

Il panico morale come dispositivo di trasformazione dell'insicurezza

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


The diffusion of insecurity, in its various meanings, is said to be a phenomenon of growing importance, but in fact it is difficult to ascertain its real trend. In Italy, available indicators show a strong increase in the frequency of such concept in public discourse but not in the attitudes of public opinion. This paper claims that public discourse has worked out a conceptual transformation from a multifaceted insecurity to a more precise sense of lack of safety focused on street crime and immigrant crime. The recurrent "moral panics" of this decade have been the most powerful devices in this transformation. The analysis presented, which deals with two episodes of moral panic, shows that immigrants are a very suitable "folk devil": when they are qualified as public enemy politicians enter the scene as leading moral entrepreneurs. In fact, discourse on safety has the function of giving new life to the relationship between politicians and their electors. The former can ritualise the bonds with the community by claiming to fight against an enemy symbolically put outside his borders.

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