Speaking of Evil and Terrorism: The Political and Ideological Construction of a Moral Panic
This article examines the political and ideological construction of terrorism as a moral panic in the United States. We begin by briefly recounting the general themes and patterns of constructing crime as a social problem. We then turn our attention to an analysis of the speeches used by political figures and law enforcement officials to construct the social reality of terrorism. We identify five rhetorical themes in the political discourse on terrorism: the epidemic, dehumanizing metaphors, reification of civilization, the construction of villains and heroes, and situating terrorism. After analyzing these themes in a historical and comparative cultural context, we discuss the role global ideologies play in our perception of social reality and how criminology reifies this conceptual order.
Victor E. Kappeler and Aaron E. Kappeler. "Speaking of Evil and Terrorism: The Political and Ideological Construction of a Moral Panic" Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance 5 (2004): 175-197.