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Interactionist sociologist Stan Cohen introduced the concept of the moral panic into sociology, specifically in reference to the societal reaction – particularly the media reaction – to mods and rockers.  The term can be applied to any sensationalist or over-the-top reaction to an issue that appears to relate to morality: to right and wrong. Other moral panics that have been of interest to sociologists have included the acid house scene in the late 1980s and the 2011 London riots. The implication in the term "moral panic" is that the reaction is out of proportion and indeed that the reaction might, in a real sense, create the phenomenon itself (see deviancy amplification).

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