Moral panic refers to a sociological concept which explains the diverse reactions of various individuals or groups to a perceived social problem. It is associated with the process of analysing, exposing, and explaining the various processes involved in contributing to concerns about a social problem, issue or threat with little or no relationship with the reality of the problem (Rohloff and Wright 405). This concept has been applied to various social issues encountered by communities and societies over the years, including single and working mothers, same-sex marriages (Delamont 55; Strandb, 2008), abortion (Goode and Ben-Yahuda 110), issues related to gun control, state censorship and the likes. The sociology of morality can be described as essentially the debates and controversies arising out of differences in people's perceptions and ideas about the good and the right and the causes and implications of the same on the society as a whole. The concept of moral panic as viewed and described by different sociologists and theorists can help in providing novel insights into the social phenomenon and help in a better and clear understanding of the subject. Analysis of the theoretical perspectives: Herbert Spencer: Structural functionalism Herbert Spencer founded the concept of structural functionalism and referred to it as an idea that "society is comprised of an organized system of 'structures' that function harmoniously to satisfy certain individual or collective needs" (Carter 39). The concept of structural functionalism posits that society represents an interconnected system which cannot function effectively in the absence of balance and equilibrium. Hence any social phenomenon or change which threatens to disrupt the balance or harmony within a society is met with strong public opposition and outrage by the members of the governing society (Mooney 110). Moral panic has been witnessed in societies over the years as a response to drastic change in social dynamics which is perceived by certain groups and communities as a threat to the harmony and equilibrium enjoyed by them. The queer theory and the accompanying moral panic is a case in point. It accurately describes the manner in which functionalists would react to the concept of same-sex marriage and the moral panic arising out of it since it tends to deviate from the norm and is perceived as actions capable of disrupting the social equilibrium. Herbert Spencer’s theory of social functionalism largely built on an organismic analogy which likened the society with a human body. His theory put an emphasis on the evolutionary laws and stated that just as all parts of the human body must function effectively to remain healthy, it is imperative for all sections of the society to work together to ensure stability. According to this perspective, any deviance in the functioning of the society is hence likely to cause chaos and disharmony and cause moral panic. The questions likely to be asked by Herbert Spencer with regard to moral panic include: In what way does the concept of moral panic affect the society? Does it contribute to the betterment of the society or lead it toward disruption, disharmony and chaos? Has the concept of moral panic contributed in complicating the existing societal structure or assisted in resolving issues and providing
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(Three Theoretical Frameworks [ Consist of 2 Part] Essay)
Sociology: Theoretical frameworks Introduction: This essay aims to analyse the three key theoretical frameworks, namely, conflict theory, structural functionalism, and symbolic interaction with respect to the moral panic as a social phenomenon. It aims to examine the concept of social phenomenon from the perspective of diverse sociologists and early theorists such as Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx and George Herbert Mead…
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