Urlich Beck in his famous work Risk Society argues that social theory and practice should pay more attention to the production and distribution of risk and fear. For the last two decades there has been a significant growth of interest - mainly in Western sociology - in a relatively new sub-discipline called the 'sociology of anxiety'. One of the concepts within the field is a Moral Panic theory. The aim of this article is to introduce this new problematic and present its main ideas and definitions. The moral panic theory is discussed with relation to other prominent sociological approaches, focusing on similarities and differences. Finally, the article discusses the feasibility of introducing the moral panic concept to the analysis of several Polish social issues.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.