On Folk Devils, Moral Panics and New Wave Public Health

Document Type : Editorial


1 Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

2 Faculty of Health Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK


New wave public health places an emphasis on exhorting individuals to engage in healthy behaviour with good health being a signifier of virtuous moral standing, whereas poor health is often associated with personal moral failings. In effect, the medical is increasingly being collapsed into the moral. This approach is consistent with other aspects of contemporary neoliberal governance, but it fuels moral panics and creates folk devils. We explore the implications and dysfunctional consequences of this new wave of public health policy in the context of the latest moral panic around obesity.


Main Subjects

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Volume 8, Issue 12
December 2019
Pages 678-683
  • Receive Date: 29 July 2019
  • Revise Date: 11 September 2019
  • Accept Date: 14 September 2019
  • First Publish Date: 01 December 2019