Cruising: 'Moral panic' and the Cronulla riot

Judy Lattas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper I draw on ethnography I undertook amongst locals in the Cronulla area after the riot of December 2005. A number of the young beach goers I came across had been on a P&O 'schoolies cruise' at the time of the riot. For two weeks the students depended on the media for information about what was going on in their suburbs. Sailing back, I was told, a pumped-up chorus of 'Shi-ire!' and 'White Pride!' rang out over Sydney Heads, as expectations climbed high of the ship being met by gangs of Middle Eastern youths, ready for the fight. Back on the beach, months later, bodies baking in the sun try to reconcile the thought of riot with what they know about Australia, and Cronulla, as a place of laid back, leisurely, lazily tolerant people. How can the two scenes of bodily excess be brought together? What are the limits of the 'moral panic' idea, in relation to the Cronulla riot? How do the competing truths of major discourses on Cronulla misrepresent the community in question?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-335
Number of pages16
JournalThe Australian Journal of Anthropology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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