Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and the Fight Over Sexual Rights

Published: July 7, 2009

Unwed teen mothers, abortion, masturbation, pornography, gay marriage, sex trafficking, homosexuality, and HIV are just a few in a long line of issues that have erupted into panics. These sexual panics spark moral crusades and campaigns, defining and shaping how we think about sexual and reproductive rights. The essays in "Moral Panics, Sex Panics" focus on case studies ranging from sex education to AIDS to race to illustrate how sexuality is at the heart of many political controversies. The contributors also reveal how moral and sexual panics have become a mainstay of certain kinds of conservative efforts to win elections and gain power in moral, social, and political arenas. "Moral Panics, Sex Panics" provides new and important insights into the role that key moral panics have played in social processes, arguing forcefully against the political abuse of sex panics and for the need to defend full sexual and reproductive rights. The contributors include: Cathy J. Cohen, Diane DiMauro, Gary W. Dowsett, Janice M. Irvine, Carole Joffe, and Saskia Eleonora Wieringa

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