MED 511—Mass Media Scandals and Moral Panics
Santral E-4 116
Wednesdays 3-6 p.m.
Instructor: Assoc. Prof. Aslı TUNÇ
Office: Santral E-4 113
Phone: 0-212-311 7177
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2-3 p.m. and Wednesdays 2-3 p.m. or by appointment
Course Description: Moral panics are defined as “a condition, episode, person or group of persons who become defined as a threat to societal values and interests.” This course will focus on the media’s role in amplifying the fears and concerns of the public related with those threats and how the menaces of the contemporary world such as AIDS, swine flu, global terror, moral corruption, copycat crimes, satanism, sexual deviances, hooliganism, and political scandals are reproduced by the mass media and create social fear and urban myths. The social and political implications of this phenomenon and how the media (particularly newspapers and television) play a central role will also be discussed by using distinct Turkish cases. The contemporary cases will be analyzed in the framework of symbolic interactionism and deviancy and amplification approaches.
Objectives and Learning Goals:
On successful completion of this graduate seminar, the students will be able to:
° place moral panics within media studies framework
° identify and analyze Turkish examples of moral panic
° critically analyze the news coverage of crime
° compare the Turkish media scandals to the International cases
° adapt the moral panics and media scandal literature to Turkish cases and make research
Required (and Supplementary) Texts and Readings:
Cohen, Stanley. (2002). Folk Devils and Moral Panics: Creation of Mods and Rockers. Routledge.
Critcher, Chas. (2006). Critical Readings: Moral Panics and the Media. Open University Press.
Jewkes, Yvonne. (2004). Media and Crime: A Critical Introduction (Key Approaches to Criminology). Sage Publications.
Hall, Stuart. (2002). Policing the Crisis. Mugging, and Law and Order. Macmillan.
Lull, James. (1997). Media Scandals: Morality and Desire in the Popular Culture Marketplace. Polity Press.
Thompson, John B. (2000). Political Scandal. Power and Visibility in the Media Age. Polity Press.
Thompson, Kenneth. (1998). Moral Panics (Key Ideas). Routledge.
Articles and supplementary texts will be provided by the professor during the semester.
Grading and Assessment:
Class Participation: 20 %
° Timely, active and intelligent participation in class discussions is expected.
Leading Class Discussion: 10 %
° Every week, selected students will be in-charge of summarizing readings, bringing up discussion questions and relevant examples, and leading class discussions
4 Short Essays/Response Papers: 40 %
° Short essays based on careful and critical reading on the assigned texts; between 800-1100 words each. Details to follow.
Research Paper: 30 %
° Every student will conduct a research in the context of this course.
Calendar and Readings:
|Week #||Topics (and Readings/Activities/Screenings)|
|Going over the syllabus|
|What is exactly a moral panic? Why study moral panics?
Reading: Chritcher, pp. 1-40; Thompson, pp. 1-31
|Media and Moral Panics,
Reading: Jewkes, pp.63-86; Chritcher, pp. 266-276
|Deviance and Moral Panics
Cohen, pp. 1-15
|Social Contruction of Moral Panics, Media Coverage of AIDS, Satanism, Swine Flu, Pedophilia, Child Pornography
Reading: Thompson, K. pp. 57-86
Response Paper 1 will be on this article
|Media and Crime
Reading: Jewkes, pp. 1-35
Religious Holiday (Kurban Bayramı)
|The Construction of Crime News
Reading: Jewkes, pp. 36-62; Chiricos and Padget, pp. 755-786.
Response Paper 2 will be on Chiricos’s article
|Media and Presentation of Crime
Reading: Jewkes, pp. 140-169
|Crime and Surveillance Culture
Reading: Jewkes, pp. 172-198
Response Paper 3 will be on the article
|Guest Speaker: A Forensic Media Expert on the Mass Media Coverage of Pedophiles and Sex Offenders|
|Media Scandals and Social Theory
Reading: Lull, pp. 1-65; Thompson, J.B., pp. 1-31.
|Celebrities and Mass-Mediated Scandals
Reading: Gronbeck, 122-143; Hinerman, 143-164.
Response Paper 4 will be on Gronbeck’s article