Going Viral: The Moral Panic Constructing the Roma as a Threat to Public Health During the First Wave of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Keywords:moral panic, Roma, pandemic, Covid-19, exclusion
Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns, heightened anti-Roma rhetoric became noticeable across much of Europe. This article focuses on the narrative according to which Roma communities represented a threat to public health and which will be analysed through the lens of the theoretical work on moral panics. The empirical data used in this paper was obtained in the framework of a project investigating the impact of the pandemic on Roma communities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine, between March–June 2020.
Using the literature on moral panics as a framework of interpretation, this article aims to shed light on the processes leading to high levels of social consensus as to the threat to public health posed by Roma communities in these countries. To do so, it outlines the narratives disseminated in mass media, as well as the subsequent narratives and policy responses employed by public authorities, showing how the latter legitimised the alarming reports publicised by the former, engendering a strong societal response which conformed with the framework of a moral panic.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Andreea Cârstocea
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