HUMN 2062 Youth Cultures and Moral Panics

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 100298

Coordinator Sherene Idriss Opens in new window

Description Young people have long been the focus of social fears. Public figures regularly express concern about the disorder created by unruly youths, or the effects of change on young people. This is the case in relation to popular music, 'youth gangs', new technologies and other areas. This subject will consider how young people became defined as a problem by politicians, policy, the media and others. Resulting 'moral panics' represent social anxieties around economic, social and technological change, producing calls for 'solutions' which often entail repressive laws or policing. Students will examine a range of case studies from Australia and elsewhere.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Sociology

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject


Successful completion of 40 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Assumed Knowledge

Satisfactory understanding of key issues and concepts of first year core subjects.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the nature and formation of moral panics
  2. Describe and explain the key features and concepts of subculture theory
  3. Investigate the emergence of the category of youth in public discourse
  4. Examine the role of the media in amplifying public insecurities around youth and in identifying 'folk devils'
  5. Assess the social and economic roots of disorder among young people
  6. Consider the connections between social anxieties, governance, policing and media coverage of youth cultures and disorder
  7. Evaluate the connections between youth, ethnicity, class and gender in representations of youth in contemporary Australia

Subject Content

  • Social contexts of youth cultures and moral panics - industrialisation, migration, consumer society and urbanisation
  • Social dimensions of youth cultures and moral panics - relations of class, gender and race/ethnicity
  • Moral panic theory, risk and social anxiety
  • Theories of youth culture and subcultures
  • Media reporting and policing of 'problem youth' in contemporary Australia
  • Case studies of youth cultures and moral panics
  • Understanding diverse youth cultures in global contexts


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Essay 2,000 words 50 N Individual
Short Answer 90 minutes 50 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Subject Reader

Teaching Periods

Spring (2024)

Bankstown City


Subject Contact Sherene Idriss Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Sherene Idriss Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window