Moral panic and neo-liberalism: The case of single mothers on welfare in Israel

Mimi Ajzenstadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper analyses a moral panic mobilized by the Israeli government, targeting single mothers who protested against a new economic plan that led to dramatic cuts in their welfare benefits. The moral panic occurred during a period of political and economic transition when Israel was moving toward a market-oriented mode of government. By incorporating issues concerning new modes of penal rationalities and practices into the analysis of the dynamics of moral panics, the paper shows that the Israeli campaign was shaped and supported by ideologies and beliefs central to the working of the political economy of neo-liberalism. The analysis shows that the moral panic was similar to other moral scenarios in its external form, but not in its internal content, which was conditioned by the wider context of neo-liberal regime and its techniques of rules and governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-87
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


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