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The texture of fear: Inside the mass hysteria of 1980s child sex abuse scares.


It was therapeutic interviews that produced these interviews in the first place – well intentioned, but unintentionally coercive interviewing of these day care children. And part of what made those interviews so shoddy was an eagerness to address the problem without the knowledge needed about how to do these interviews correctly.

Writer Richard Beck explains how the mass moral panic around day care child abuse reflected America’s anxieties about the changing roles of work, motherhood and family in the 1980s, and the impact of the McMartin trial and similar cases on American society, from psychiatry and law enforcement to the second wave of feminism.

Richard is author of the new book We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s from PublicAffairs.

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Richard Beck

Richard Beck is an editor at n+1.


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