The Perspectives of Ego-Network Analysis in the Moral Panic Propagation Studies on the Interpersonal Level




moral panic, contemporary legend, ego-networks, social network analysis, in-depth interview, obesity, interpersonal level


Moral panic is a collective reaction that stems from a belief in the existence of people whose behavior contradicts social expectations and therefore threatens societal safety. This concept, while being proposed by Stanley Cohen at the end of the 20th century, has not yet gained a stable position in the social sciences lexicon due to the difficulties of its operationalization and subsequent evaluation.

The paper discusses the perspectives of ego-network analysis for moral panic studies. The author relies on the definition of this concept through belief in a contemporary legend and uses a socio-psychological approach to its analysis. Basing on the example of moral panic about obesity, the author studies the methodological decisions that should be made when collecting and analyzing data using ego-networks in the framework of biographical interviews. In conclusion, the author discusses advantages of the approach proposed in the paper and names methodological and theoretical issues, that need to be addressed for this methodology to be applied in empirical research.

Acknowledgments. The author expresses gratitude to Andrey V. Bykov for his comments and suggestions which helped to improve the quality of this paper.

Author Biography

Oxana R. Mikhaylova, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
    • Ph.D. student (Sociology)

    • Research Assistant at the Centre for Modern Childhood Studies