On 1 December I gave a web seminar while visiting the University of Stirling in Scotland on “Making a moral panic – ‘Feral families’, family violence and welfare reforms in New Zealand: Doing the work of the state?”
Abstract: New Zealand is in the midst of a campaign to cut welfare spending, aligned to the ‘austerity’ discourse preoccupying many countries. Over the period 2011- 2014, two significant government projects were developed side by side: a programme of welfare reforms (Welfare Working Group, 2011) and the development of a new programme of interventions aimed at reducing the incidence of child abuse (Ministry of Social Development, 2012) (MSD). Both projects emanated from the same arm of government, the MSD, but they were not linked in their everyday activities. Both projects have generated significant public interest and are imbued with ideological content.
This seminar will explore the construction of a ‘feral families’ discourse in the New Zealand print media and considers whether this construction may constitute an example of the folk devil often manifest in a moral panic. In New Zealand such families are characterised as being welfare dependent, prone to violence and predominantly Maori but there are parallels to such framings in other countries.
Please go to the With Scotland site here and scroll down the list of lectures to my lecture on 1 December 2015. You will also find some very interesting lectures by other researchers on child and family welfare topics recorded recently.
Link to my blog post on this topic here