The title relates to both the content of a paper I gave yesterday at the School's Work In Progress Day, and to my own state of mind beforehand! I think it went well, though -- at least there was no rotten fruit thrown at the end! -- which is good because it was the first real outing for my current chapter on defence panics. The deadly-dull paper title was "Moral panics, defence panics and the British air panic of 1934-5", and here's the abstract:
The sociological concept of moral panic was developed to describe and explain how societies react to internal threats to their values and interests, such as crime or deviant behaviour, with particular emphasis on the roles played by the media and expert opinion. In this paper I will argue that the reactions of a society to external, military threats -- "defence panics" -- can develop in essentially the same way as moral panics, and can be analysed using a similar framework. My main example will be drawn from the British air panic of 1934-5 over the threat of illegal German aerial rearmament.
For the record, these are the main defence panic candidates I'm interested in, some of which I've discussed here before:
- phantom airship scare, 1913
- Gotha raids on London, 1917
- "French" air menace, 1922
- Hamburg gas disaster, 1928
- German germ warfare experiments, 1934
- German air menace, 1934-5
- Guernica, 1937; Barcelona, 1938; Canton, 1938; Munich crisis, 1938
- the Blitz, 1940
I had a slide up with Airminded's URL but stupidly forgot to actually mention it. So if anyone who heard my talk has managed to find their way here despite this, hello and well done! Amazingly, there was actually one student there who already reads Airminded -- I was very chuffed to learn that reading it is less boring than working :) -- but I quite rudely forgot to ask their name. If they or anyone else from the session would like to drop me a line, they can drop me a line here in the comments, or via the contact form. I'd like to hear from you!
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