amplification of deviance

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A version of labelling theory explaining moral panics in terms of a negative feedback loop that spirals out of control when the strength of social condemnation of a criminal act leads to more reported instances of that act (or apparently similar acts) which leads to more condemnation, and yet more instances. Although the phenomenon is a social one, the mass media are often blamed for increasing the power and range of the amplification effect, creating a moral panic.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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