Date of Award

Winter 12-14-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Women's Studies

First Advisor

Susan Talburt

Second Advisor

Amira Jarmakani

Third Advisor

Julie Kubala

Abstract

My thesis looks at the creation of moral panics surrounding childhood, sexuality, and media proliferation of “stranger danger,” in American culture. I have chosen to analyze the television program “To Catch a Predator” to illustrate the ways in which these “stranger danger” narratives are related to childhood sexual moral panics and how these two phenomena work to encourage viewership and consumerism in American culture. The exacerbation of “predator” moral panics in reality television maintains the fear of invasion of secure suburban space largely due to the portrayal of African American men as threatening and/or violent within “To Catch a Predator’s” narrative.

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