Describe in your own words how the deviancy amplification spiral operates to produce a 'moral panic'. Illustrate with two examples.

Essay by theethnicUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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The deviancy amplification spiral is a process that in essence, takes a singular event and transforms it into a nationwide/worldwide concern that usually far exceeds the actual problem itself. In this essay we will explore two examples in which we can plainly see the spiral operate.

The main contributors to the process are the media and influential characters within society who define what behavior is classed as abnormal or immoral and then 'whip up' a public frenzy that ultimately ends in a radical 'crackdown' on the issue. The culprits at the centre of the whirlwind are often labeled and stigmatized although there is usually not much factual information conveyed to the public.

One recent example of this process is the MMR vaccination jab. The opening major news story appeared in The Sun on June 14th, 2000. The first headline, "Jab 'link' to autism", sparked a chain of media coverage that began with 3 children being administered the triple vaccination jab and subsequently developing autism.

A 'professional' opinion on the matter was offered by, Dr Ken Aitken at the time who stated:

"More children are being diagnosed with autism and clusters like these are deeply worrying. There is strong circumstantial evidence to point to the MMR jab as the reason."

The 'strong evidence' that Mr. Aitken referred to was unfortunately not relayed by the article, so the general public only received part of the picture. In truth, the foremost study of the MMR vaccine, conducted in Denmark, reported that out of the 440,655 children that had been vaccinated only 316 were identified with an autistic disorder , This raises the question how many children develop autism under 'normal' circumstances? "The CDC, NIH, and other agencies give estimates ranging in the 2-6 per 1,000 children" That would imply that the figures in...