Threatened Children: Rhetoric and Concern about Child-Victims

Overview

Child abuse, incest, child molestation, Halloween sadism, child pornography: although clearly not new problems, they have attracted more attention than ever before. Threatened Children asks why. Joel Best analyzes the rhetorical tools used by child advocates when making claims aimed at raising public anxiety and examines the media's role in transmitting reformers' claims and the public's response to the frightening statistics, compelling examples, and expanding definitions it confronts. Drawing on a wide range of...

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Overview

Child abuse, incest, child molestation, Halloween sadism, child pornography: although clearly not new problems, they have attracted more attention than ever before. Threatened Children asks why. Joel Best analyzes the rhetorical tools used by child advocates when making claims aimed at raising public anxiety and examines the media's role in transmitting reformers' claims and the public's response to the frightening statistics, compelling examples, and expanding definitions it confronts. Drawing on a wide range of sources, from criminal justice records to news stories, from urban legends to public opinion surveys, Best reveals how the cultural construction of social problems evolves.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An analysis of the rhetorical tools used by child advocates when making claims aimed at raising public consciousness (anxiety) and examines the role of the media in transmitting those claims and the subsequent public response. At each stage, content and meaning evolve (and are distorted). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226044255
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/1990
  • Pages: 239

Meet the Author

Joel Best is professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

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Table of Contents

Tables and Figures
Acknowledgments
1. The Rise of the Child-Victim
2. Rhetoric in Claims about Missing Children
3. The Numbers Game: Statistics as Claims
4. Definition, Typification, and Domain Expansion
5. Network News as Secondary Claims
6. Popular Culture as Secondary Claims
7. Fears and Folklore
8. Concern and Public Opinion
9. Competing in the Social Problems Marketplace
Notes
Appendix: Recent Fiction about Threats to Children
References
Index

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