Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and the Fight Over Sexual Rights (Book Review)

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Book Review

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I began reading Moral Panics, Sex Panics just as the media had apparently exhausted Tiger Woods’ numerous infidelities, as salacious images of Rielle Hunter (mistress of former U.S. Senator John Edwards) saturated the mediascape, and Jessie James (then-husband of Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock) publically admitted to an affair with a tattooed exotic dancer. While none of these, “monogamy challenged” celebrities, nor the media frenzy surrounding them, represent moral or sex panic (in themselves, at least for now), the steady stream of sex scandal in contemporary media culture is an ever-present context for both thinking about the contents of Moral Panics, Sex Panics as well as the seemingly constant lascivious barrage of “sexual indignities” that saturate the media—a clear advantage to Gilbert Herdt’s edited collection, and one that I suspect will appeal to an even broader range of readers than perhaps intended.


Sociology and Corrections

Publication Title

Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews