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Title: Crime, deviance, and the social discovery of moral panic in eighteenth century London, 1712-1790
Author: Hamerton, Christopher Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 6347 4801
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis utilises the theoretical device of Folk Devils and Moral Panics, instigated by Stanley Cohen and developed by Erich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda, to explore the discovery of, and social response to, crime and deviance in eighteenth-century London. The thesis argues that London and its media in the eighteenth-century can be identified as the initiating historical site for what might now be termed public order moral panics. The scholarly foundation for this hypothesis is provided by two extensively researched chapters which evaluate and contextualise the historiography of public opinion and media alongside the unique character and power located within the burgeoning metropolis. This foundation is followed by a trio of supportive case studies, which examine and inform on novel historical episodes of social deviance and criminality. These episodes are selected to replicate a sequence of observable folk devils within Cohen’s original typology – youth violence, substance abuse, and predatory sex offending. Which are transposed historically as the Mohocks in 1712, Madam Geneva between 1720-1751, and the London Monster in 1790. Taken together, these three episodes provide historical lineage of moral panic which traverses much of the eighteenth-century, allowing for social change, and points of convergence and divergence, to be observed. Furthermore, these discrete episodes of moral panic are used to reveal the social problems of the eighteenth-century capital that informed the control narratives that followed. Consequently this thesis makes an important contribution to the understanding of both moral panic theory, and the historiography of crime and deviance, and posits that the current discourse on folk devils and moral panics can be extended via the exploration of the moral crises of earlier centuries.
Supervisor: Gammon, Julie ; Mcaleer, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available