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Deviancy Amplification

Deviancy amplification is a term used by interactionist sociologists to refer to the way levels of deviance or crime can be increased by the societal reaction to deviance itself.

For example, if there is a moral panic about something this effectively advertises it. The riots in the UK in the summer of 2011, for example, began in one area of London but quickly spread through the city and then to other counties. The later offenders were only aware of the riots through its reporting on 24 hour news broadcasts: therefore the reporting of the original deviance amplified it. Stan Cohen's Folk Devils and Moral Panics study identified this process in relation to mods and rockers: sensationalised reporting of clashes between these youth subcultures created a phenomenon and turned a few minor scuffles into a media event.

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