Sociologist who coined the term "moral panic";
Born: February 23, 1942; Died: January 7, 2013.
Stanley Cohen, who has died aged 70, was a sociologist and criminologist whose study of the mod and rocker disturbances in the 1960s led to him coining the phrase "moral panic".
It isn't often a sociological term transfers to the mainstream but that is exactly what happened to this one.
Moral panic seemed to describe the media and social reaction to the mods and rockers but crucially the phrase is still relevant today, whether applied to paedophiles, chavs or immigrants.
Mr Cohen first used the term moral panic in his 1972 book Folk Devils And Moral Panics. The book emerged from the time he had spent on the south coast of England observing the discontent and disruption between the rockers and mods.
He was a postgraduate student at the time, experiencing what was happening at first hand, and tried to get as many perspectives as he could.
During the day, he would walk around in jeans and try to overhear what the kids were saying; then he would change into a suit and interview a magistrate and hear a completely different version of the same events. Finally, he would get up the next day and buy a newspaper and see another reality.
"These were all different worlds," he recalled, "not literally, but different images of the same world and that is what sociology is: reconciling them and finding the relationship between them."
Stanley Cohen was born in South Africa and grew up in Johannesburg. He once said his first political memory was looking out of his bedroom window and seeing a black man hunched over a fire trying to keep warm.
After studying sociology at Witwatersrand University, he came to Great Britain to work as a social worker and study for a PhD at the London School of Economics (LSE).
For two years in the late 1960s he lectured at Enfield College in Middlesex before moving to Durham University and then the University of Essex, where he became professor of sociology. Later, he returned to LSE where he finished as emeritus professor of sociology.
Mr Cohen's books are still considered classics of sociology. As well as Folk Devils And Moral Panics, there were major works on imprisonment and human rights. He also played a central role in the establishment of the Centre of the Study of Human Rights at the LSE.
He married Ruth Kretzmer in 1983. She died in 2003. He is survived by their two daughters.
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