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Lecture

Early Crisis and Moral Panic 1980s


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC309Y1
Professor
Robb Travers

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Soc309
Lecture 3 – Early Crisis, Moral Panic: The 1980s
May 24th, 2011
Public reactions
-This emerged when Regan was president in the united states
-A time when human rights, (there was alot of discourse, particularly homosexualities) – it was just
removed from the DSM which meant it was no longer a mental disability
-In Canada – first country outside of Europe to decriminalize homosexuality
oPierre trudeau β€œthe state has no business in the bedrooms”
-A Desease that first strikes gay men
-Affected gay men, heroine users and patients, and sex offenders
oAlot of people who already suffered through stigma and public reactions
oTransmitted through sexual interaction and needles
-Very stigmatized illness that sets off panic, since it attacks the body and works fast
-Aids brought people out of the closet quickly because it was usually amongst them
1987 Video on Oprah – The aids epidemic
-Young man with aids moved to a small town in America
-No public health in America thus so when people get sick they move back to their home town
-The strong reaction against homosexual men
oThey didn’t like their life style and thought it was a gay mans desease
-There was fear of families being harmed
-Fears
oPeople looking for absolute garuntees and asurence
oPhysicians can’t garuntee it because
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-Highly stigmatized illness because people believed it was associated with gay men / ”gay man’s
lifestyles”
We live in a cultural milue
-Everything we do is a personal choice
-And when we do somthing thre there are consiquences includeing illness and desease
-Individualism permeates everything we take for granted in this world
-Genetic link is very minor in gettinga desease
-Ie 5% of breast cancer patients can be explained by genetics alone, most is by environmental exposure
Intense reactions to HIV
-No cure
-Primarily fatal – people who have it will eventually succumb to it
-Early links to this disease is why it is such a reactive
Alan Brandt asks
-Who gets sick and why?
-What’s underneath the questions of who gets sick and why
oPowerful cultural values
oDeep moral and philosophical ideals
oNB – social and political ideologies
Somehow what we do as individuals always holds us accountable for what happens to us
Morality – β€œ aids might be gods punishment for immoral sexual behaviour”
-In 1987 more people agree with this statement
Second article - kopelman
-Lots of discussion of god and gods role in aids
-2 key things about punishment theory
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oEmploys a moral concept of blame or responsibility
oBlame is based on religious or secular forms of morality
-Punishment theory –
oReligion – god or a transcendental being inflict punishment on the culpable person
Modified- or punishes someon close to the culpable person
oSecular – people bring diseases on themselves by their bad life styles
Modified – or bring about diseases in those close to the culpable person
-4 challenges in addition to copelmans
oEstablished innocent verses guilty discourse
There is lots of blame towards the guilty
Even though some people are more at risk
Everyone can acquire the virus
oEncourages victim blaming
oFails to take into account cultural, political and socioeconomic factors behind disease
If the bulk of people think they aren’t at risk thus do not need to be careful
oSeriously impedes prevention and care efforts
-Target group of the moral panic
oDifferent from the flu that killed alot of people in the 1800s
o1) Identification of problem – HIV/AIDS
o2) identification of a subversive minority – homos, sexworkers , drug users
o3) simplification of cause- decline in moral standards , deviant sexual behaviour
o4) stigmatization of those involved – media use of emotive and disparaging significations :
promiscuous, immoral, perverts
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