Measuring Moral Panic Propagation on the Interpersonal Level: Case of Pro-ana Women Bloggers
Despite the large number of papers devoted to the analysis of moral panic, research
is lacking on methods to measure moral panic propagation on the interpersonal
level. This article addresses that gap, suggesting a methodological approach that
could be applied to studies of moral panic propagation by interpersonal interactions.
Based on the pairing of ego-network analysis and biographical interviews, this
method measures the influence of personal social contacts on an individual’s
participation in a moral panic. To demonstrate the capabilities of this methodology,
I examine the obesity moral panic propagation. I conceptualize pro-ana women as
moral panickers who diffuse moral panic on obesity and analyze 50 biographical
interviews with Russian-speaking pro-ana women bloggers along with their public
online diaries. The study findings are discussed in relation to obesity moral panic
research. The potential and limitations of the approach are shown in the moral
panic propagation analysis.