Expanding Moral Panic Theory to Include the Agency of Charismatic Entrepreneurs: The Case of Donald Trump (Joosse, 2018)
No 6xmtv, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science
Working beyond latently Durkheimian figurations of moral panic which depict a dialectic between ‘right-thinkers’ and folk devils, this article integrates charismatic entrepreneurs into a tripartite model that sheds light on two new pathways of interaction that are relevant for the sociology of morality. First, charismatic leaders can outflank traditional leaders’ aspersions of folk devils, taking the principle of ‘one-upmanship’ to an extraordinary (and therewith charismatic) extreme. Second, charismatic leaders can creatively subvert traditional mores, overturning value tables to ‘bedevil’ traditional leaders. Because moral panic and charismatic enthusiasm implicate distinct, complementary, and unitary social processes, I argue that, taken together, the work of Max Weber and Stanley Cohen offer a more theoretically profitable vision of moral denaturation and reformulation than either would alone. Donald Trump’s charismatic ascension during his 2015–16 US Presidential campaign is used to illustrate the theoretical contribution.
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