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Tuesday, July 28 • 13:30 - 14:30
Panel 1B: Participatory Media & Moral Panic in the Digital Era

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  • Dr. Nathalie Paton, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of AixMarseille (France)

  • Dr. Glenn W. Muschert, PhD, Professor at the University of Miami, Ohio (USA)  

  • Dr. Morena Tartari, PhD, Lecturer in Sociology, Department FISPPA – Section of Sociology, University of Padua (Italy) 

  • Noreen van Elk, PhD student at Groningen University (Netherlands) and Research Assistant for the Institute for Peace and Theology in Hamburg (Germany) 

  • Dr. Aimee Rickman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Child and Family Sciences, California State University, Fresno (USA) 

  • Dr. Pierre Ratinaud Associate Professor, University of Toulouse, Jean Jaurès, LERASS Research Center (France)

Various current events, such as a vote on new legislation or the cultural practices of a socially deviant group, can awaken worries, fears and tensions generating "moral panic" (Cohen, 1972; Klocke, Muschert, 2010, 2013). With the advent of participatory media (i.e. social media that allow people to consume, produce and diffuse cultural content (Deuze 2006; Jenkins 2006; Livingstone 2013) and the access to public speech it provides, the public can now relay and fuel moral panic without going through legitimate institutions. By stating their political views via digital media arenas, the general public can take part in new forms of interpersonal mass communication (Baym, 1998) and express their political opinions within these social forums, unveiling their worries and making controversial claims through their personal social networks. This mediated participation in moral dilemmas plays an active role in determining public problems, prompting social movements, renewing social networks at the level of personal relationships, while renegotiating a number of democratic balances.

This panel is meant to tackle these recent transformations. The increasing mediatization of social relations, due to the expansion of participatory media in recent years, raises indeed a series of questions when participatory media is used to discuss moral dilemmas. We hope to broach queries such as: How do individuals generate and propagate their anger, fears or concerns beyond their local relational circles and fuel major international tensions within digital networks? How does media participation of various publics in political discussions on sites like Twitter or Facebook affect the interpersonal relationships of contributors, whether these ties be professional or with family and friends? How can contemporary technological devices overcome past difficulties in studying moral panic? Do recent methodological contributions related to new techniques of data collection (e.g. data mining, topic detection and tracking, etc.) in areas such as digital humanities allow one to revisit moral panic theories as they provide new opportunities of research?

This discussion is therefore an opportunity to underline how social media lead to renegotiating a number of democratic balances, including the relationship between private and public spheres as well as the role of publics in constituting collective dynamics, such as the formation of public problems. This updating of knowledge – combining theories of social problems, social networks, ICT and moral panics – establishes a multidisciplinary dialogue between different traditions of research.

Each contributor is meant to feed into this general topic from different angles in order to kick-start a discussion and emphasize the different manners in which this yet underdeveloped area of research can be developed in the years to come.

avatar for Nathalie Paton

Nathalie Paton

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Marseille
My work focuses on the study of media participation in relationship to the formation of self, social groups or public arenas of debate within a range of topics including violence, e-health and activism, via methods typical of digital humanities, mainly online ethnography.
avatar for Aimee Rickman

Aimee Rickman

Assistant Professor, California State University, Fresno, United States of America
avatar for Morena Tartari

Morena Tartari

Lecturer, University of Padua
moral panic & media

Tuesday July 28, 2015 13:30 - 14:30
(7th Floor) Room TRS1-129 (Ted Rogers School of Management) 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

Attendees (37)