A Moral Panic? The Problematization of Forced Marriage in British Newspapers

Sundari Anitha*, Aisha K. Gill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the British media’s construction of forced marriage (FM) as an urgent social problem in a context where other forms of violence against women are not similarly problematized. A detailed analysis of four British newspapers over a 10-year period demonstrates that media reporting of FM constitutes a moral panic in that it is constructed as a cultural problem that threatens Britain’s social order rather than as a specific form of violence against women. Thus, the current problematization of FM restricts discursive spaces for policy debates and hinders attempts to respond to this problem as part of broader efforts to tackle violence against women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1144
Number of pages22
JournalViolence against Women
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Gender and Violence Research


  • forced marriage
  • immigration policy
  • moral panic
  • problematization
  • violence against women


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