Among the various researchers who in recent years have advocated rethinking and revising the moral panic concept, a number have advised their colleagues to engage with scholarship not commonly referenced on the topic as an important step in this direction. For example, in “Moral Panic and Social Theory: Beyond the Heuristic,” Amanda Rohloff and criminologist Sarah Wright (2010) propose that drawing on sociologist Norbert Elias’s (2000) ideas about “the civilizing process” can increase the explanatory power of the moral panics model, moving it beyond its informative but limited applicability as a framework for social inquiry. Rohloff and Wright (2010: 412-13) find that besides having numerous other advantages for researchers, utilizing Elias’s insights can, for at least two crucial reasons, shed considerable light on the relationship between individual moral panics and ongoing social currents or conflicts:

Firstly, … moral panics occur partly as the outcome of civilizing processes-where processes of civilization contribute to decivilization. One example is the long-term civilization trend towards increased specialization and ‘expertization’ of knowledge (that is, increased division of labour). This process, along with the technicization of the dissemination of knowledge, has increasingly enabled the exaggeration and distortion of events … as well as the deamplification of events … Second, to attend to the problem of temporality with specific empirical examples, we can then explore how the specific panic (or panics) are affected by wider social processes specific to the given example under investigation … . The following questions could be asked of the relationship of short-term panics and long-term processes: how do particular social problems come to be defined as such, and develop into moral panics; how do particular groups of people come to be the foci of processes of ‘disidentification’?