Micropanics: A Theoretical Explanation for Anti-Gay Hate Crime Perpetration

Nicholas A. Guittar


Lesbians and gay men continue to be framed as a threat to traditional American social institutions, particular the family. Recent research in the social sciences has identified attitudes toward homosexuality, belief in homosexuality as a moral choice, and heterosexism as significant predictors of hate crime victimization (Alden and Parker 2005). Unfortunately, prior research has failed to explain how certain individuals who maintain platforms of sexual prejudice make the leap to committing hate crimes against lesbians and gay men. By incorporating elements of Cohen’s (1972) moral panics, Tajfel and Turner’s (1986) social identity theory and Sykes and Matza’s (1957) techniques of neutralization this paper proposes that anti-gay hate crimes serve as isolated incidents of moral panic referred to herein as micropanics.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782