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Media risks: the social amplification of risk and the media violence debate

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This article examines the conceptual framework of the social amplification of risk in relation to the social sciences framework of moral panic and the media violence debate in Britain. The paper will explore the symbolic use of 'risk' in relation to the alleged negative effects of media violence, and analyse the key stages in the social amplification of the physical and moral risks of media violence. Specific risk events in Britain, such as the death of James Bulger in 1993, or the Dunblane massacre in 1996, have particular event characteristics which inform the flow of information about the alleged risks of media violence, and influence political legislation and censorship. Analysis of the social amplification of the risks of media violence provides evidence of the ways in which the media, politicians and anti-violence campaign groups become social amplification stations. These organizations manipulate risk events to control information flows about stigmatized examples of popular culture and media audiences, with the aim to create a 'safer' moral and cultural environment.
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Keywords: DISCOURSE OF STIGMATIZATION; ENVIRONMENTALISM; MEDIA RISKS; MEDIA VIOLENCE; SOCIAL AMPLIFICATION OF RISK

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-07-01

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