skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 151016 Find in a Library
Title: Rhetoric in Claims-Making: Constructing the Missing Children Problem (From Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context, and Interaction, P 105-121, 1994, Patricia A and Peter Adler, eds. -- See NCJ-151012)
Author(s): J Best
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Wadsworth Publishing Co
Belmont, CA 94002
Sale Source: Wadsworth Publishing Co
20 Davis Drive
Belmont, CA 94002
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In the case of missing children, claims-makers attempt to affect the general public, especially parents, and influence official policies designed to deal with the problem.
Abstract: The issue of missing children achieved extraordinary visibility by the mid-1980's. Americans saw photographs of missing children on milk cartons and grocery bags, billboards, and televised public service messages. In addition, toy stores and fast food restaurants distributed abduction prevention tips for both parents and children. Organizations such as Child Find found it advantageous to link their cause to widespread sympathy for parents whose children were abducted by strangers. Because the missing children problem emerged quickly and involved extensive claims-making in the press, testimony before Congressional committees, billboards, and pamphlets, claims about the problem are available for analysis. While the claims refer specifically to the missing children problem, their rhetorical structure parallels claims-making for many social problems. Perhaps the most fundamental form of claims-making is to define a problem and give it a name; this involves domain and orientation statements. Claims-makers estimate the extent of the missing children problem using incidence or growth estimates and range claims. Like other forms of argument, claims-making presents conclusions and typically calls for action to alleviate or eradicate the social problem. In the case of missing children, claims-makers hope to affect the general public and the formulation of official policies with respect to awareness, prevention, and social control. The process and context of claims-making in response to social problems are described. 61 references and 21 notes
Main Term(s): Child victims
Index Term(s): Crime prevention measures; Crimes against children; Juvenile victims; Media coverage; Missing children
Note: Reprinted from Social Problems, V 34, N 2 (1987)
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.