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Sociologica

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Abstract
Mass media play an important role in raising awareness on social issues. In Italy, how do mass media cover crime? The survey of the female murder cases covered by the TV evening news in 2006 shows that media broadcast an anti-immigrant rhetoric which misrepresented reality. In this case, Cohen’s notion of moral panic can be applied to capture the dynamics and consequences of media representation, but it cannot be generalized to the way media present crime. Moral panic is an empirical concept which must always be tested, especially when the societal reaction to deviance is not causative of the deviance itself. Femicide in Italy is an interesting example of this latter case.
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