‘A Fish rots from the Head: How Powerful Moral Entrepreneurs Manufacture Folk Devils’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Prejudice, the act of characterizing people in a stereotypical and derogatoryfashion to justify their persecution, is literally ‘pre-judging’. Being prejudicedmeans refusing to allow a judgement based on the facts available to affect yourattitudes and actions towards a group of people: insisting on the right to have anopinion based on mythmaking; listening to, believing and telling lies that oftenadd up to conspiracy fantasies that turn reality on its head. Groups of peoplewho are oppressed and less powerful than others are described as either threat-ening to dominate ‘us’, i.e. the rest of society, or as a risk, through their attitudes,which are alleged to undermine social norms and established cultures. Manysociologists have explored the way in which states categorize groups of people– human figurations – into ‘established and outsiders’ (Elias and Scotson 2008)or more commonly simply label the problem group as ‘outsiders’ (Becker 1963) or‘hooligans’ (Pearson 1983)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModern Folk Devils: Contemporary Constructions of Evil,
EditorsM. D. Frederiksen
PublisherUniversity of Helsinki Press
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

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