Moral Panics over the Environment? “Climate Crisis” and the Moral Panics Model

Authored by: Amanda Rohloff

The Ashgate Research Companion to Moral Panics

Print publication date:  January  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409408116
eBook ISBN: 9781315613307
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042433


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This chapter utilizes the example of climate change to explore some of the core assumptions about moral panics and in doing so will begin to answer the question as to whether or not there can be moral panics about the environment. Several authors have argued that reactions to “risk society” issues such as climate change cannot be termed moral panics, as they are real, risk-based, and have little or no moral basis. Through an analysis of various sources of empirical data, this chapter illustrates that climate change is constructed within a strong moral basis. In regard to panic, this chapter contextualizes recent campaigns about climate change within long-term processes of changes in understandings about the environment and society.

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