Political Scandal Power and Visability in the Media Age

ISBN-10: 0745625509
ISBN-13: 9780745625508
Edition: 2000
Authors: John B. Thompson
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Description: Political scandals have become a pervasive feature of many societies today. From Profumo to the cash-for-questions scandal, from Watergate to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, scandals have come to play a central role in politics and in the shaping of  More...

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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Polity Press
Publication date: 12/19/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.254
Language: English

Political scandals have become a pervasive feature of many societies today. From Profumo to the cash-for-questions scandal, from Watergate to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, scandals have come to play a central role in politics and in the shaping of public debate. What are the characteristics of political scandals and why have they come to assume such prominence today? What are the social and political consequences of the preoccupation with political scandal in the public domain?In this major new book Thompson develops a systematic and wide-ranging analysis of the phenomenon of political scandal. He shows that the rise of political scandal is linked to the changes brought about by the development of communication media, which have transformed the nature of visibility and altered the relations between public and private life. He analyses the characteristics of scandals as mediated events and he explains why mediated scandals in the political field have become increasingly prevalent in recent years.Distinguishing between three basic types of political scandal, Thompson reconstructs the development of sex scandals, financial scandals and what he calls 'power scandals' in Britain and the United States, showing how scandals unfold and how they form part of distinctive political cultures of scandal. In the final chapter, Thompson develops an original theoretical account of political scandal and its consequences which highlights the connections between scandal, reputation and trust.This book is a path-breaking analysis of a troubling phenomenon which has become a central feature of public life in our societies today. It will be of great interest to students of sociology, politics, and media and cultural studies. It will also appeal to a wider readership interested in social and political issues.

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction
What is Scandal?
The Concept of Scandal
Gossip, Rumour and Scandal
Corruption, Bribery and Scandal
The Rise of Mediated Scandal
The Transformation of Visibility
Early Uses of 'Scandal' in the Media
The Emergence of Scandal as a Mediated Event
Scandal as a Mediated Event
Some Characteristics of Mediated Scandals
The Sequential Structure of Mediated Scandals
Agents and Organizations
Experiencing Scandal as a Mediated Event
The Nature of Political Scandal
Defining Political Scandal
Symbolic Power and the Political Field
Why is Political Scandal More Prevalent Today?
Political Cultures of Scandal
Sex Scandals in the Political Field
Three Types of Political Scandal
Private Life in the Public Domain
A Venerable Tradition
Changing Times
Financial Scandals in the Political Field
The Interlacing of Money and Power
Private Interests and Public Duties
Politics and Corporate Power
The Whitewater Imbroglio
Power Scandals
The Unveiling of Hidden Powers
Watergate and the Iran-Contra Affair
The Rise of Security Scandals
Blurred Boundaries
The Consequences of Scandal
Four Theories of Scandal and its Consequences
Power, Reputation and Trust: Towards a Social Theory of Scandal
Conclusion
Notes
Index

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