Friday, 11 January 2013

Take Every Opportunity To Unmask Its Pretensions And Euphemisms

January 2013

Obituary: Stan Cohen, 1942-2013 – a social worker turned sociologist who coined the term ‘moral panic’

"You may not have heard of Stan Cohen, who has just died, but you will certainly know something of his ideas, and their continuing relevance. Look at the current hysteria around ‘chavs’, ‘asylum seekers’  and ‘shirkers’ or the way Jimmy Savile has come to represent paedophilia  (even though we know that most child abuse takes place within the family), and we are likely to come up with the term ‘moral panic’."

"One I especially warm to is his encouragement for us ‘to stay in your agency or organization, but don’t let it seduce you. Take every opportunity to unmask its pretensions and euphemisms’"

"And most challenging perhaps, ‘In practice and theory, stay “unfinished”. Don’t be ashamed of working for short-term humanitarian or libertarian goals, but always keep in mind the long-term political prospects. This might mean living with the uncomfortable ambiguity that your most radical work will be outside your day-to-day job’"


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