Book Launch: Moral Panics and School Educational Policy


Book launch by Dr Grant Rodwell

Start Date

9th Nov 2017 4:30pm

End Date

9th Nov 2017 6:00pm


Room 132, Law School, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

RSVP below by 8 November. Enquiries: or 6324 3005


The Faculty of Education invites you to celebrate the publication of
Moral Panics and School Educational Policy by

Dr Grant Rodwell

to be launched by the Honourable David Bartlett,
former Premier of Tasmania and Minister for Education and Skills, Tasmanian Government

This event will be hosted by Professor Emeritus John Williamson, University of Tasmania

Have you ever wondered:

  • How do moral panics influence school educational policy?
  • From historical and sociological perspectives, what are the shared characteristics of school educational moral panics?
  • What are the typical roles of the moral provocateurs, moral entrepreneurs, media and politicians, especially the rapidly emerging role of the social media on these tenacious influences on school educational policy?
  • With the added impact of globalism and risk society thinking, how are moral panics increasingly being orchestrated by politicians to achieve political ends?

How do the moral panics that have plagued school education since its nineteenth-century beginnings impact current school education policy? Research has shown young people to be particularly vulnerable to moral panics and, with the rise of social media, the impact of moral panics on school education is growing exponentially. Increasingly, they are reaching into the highest levels of national governments and, so powerful are their effects, some politicians choose to orchestrate them for their own political ends. For many educational administrators, the management of the ‘fallout’ of moral panics has become a time-consuming part of their day, as well as being a problematic time for parents, teachers and students.

First developed by British and Canadian sociologists such as Stanley Cohen (1972), moral panic theory has evolved substantially since its early focus on adolescent deviant behaviour, and is now a part of common media talk. This book addresses the need for a single monograph on the topic, with reference to historical moral panics such as those associated with sexuality education, but also wider societal moral panics such as those associated with obesity. Teachers, students, indeed all members of school communities, along with educational administrators and politicians can learn from this study of the impact of moral panics on school educational policy.