Political Scandal: Power and Visability in the Media Age / Edition 1

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Overview

In this 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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This beautifully written book explains a central paradox of modern political life: why the most powerful men are threatened by the risk of scandals which undermine their power. I won't give away the argument because it reads like a thriller.' Ulrich Beck, University of Munich

'This is the most thoughtful, best grounded work ever on the subject of political scandal. It is indispensable for anyone who seeks to understand the growing place of scandal-centered politics in our time.' Michael Schudson, University of California, San Diego

'This is an incisive and disturbing book. John Thompson goes far beyond newspaper accounts of scandal. He makes of scandal a subject which unlocks important secrets about political power. A must read.' Richard Sennett, London School of Economics

'[A] cool, shrewd and revealing exposé of the apparatus of scandal ... In a climate of almost perpetual moral indignation, there is an undeniable frisson to reading a text on scandal that does not sermonise and denounce dodgy politicians and/or unscrupulous muckrakers. Thompson's work is virtually a compact encyclopaedia of modern scandal, but it is above all an overarching theory of the genre, keeping a detached but sympathetic distance from heroes, clowns and victims alike ... an illuminating book.' Andy Martin, The Independent

'Excellent analysis ... from Polity, at the cleverer end of the trade.' Andrew Marr, booksonline

"What is unique about this work is not just that the author focuses on the role of the media...but that the author brings many of these disparate elements together in what is perhaps the first systematic and comprehensive theory of scandal available to scholars" C.J.Spiliotes. Canadian Journal of Political Science

Political Scandal has been awarded the coveted European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences for 2001.

"Thompson's aim is not simply to re-narrate and codify, rather to refelct on what scandal's prominence reveals about the character of power in the "media age", developing a "social theory" of scandal's "conditions and consequences." The Times Higher Education Supplement

"This book has a lot to say about mediated political scandals -including their roots and consequences in liberal democratic societies- and his author says it very, very well....highly illuminating journey through media, political and cultural history.... I cannot recommend this book highly enough for any of several audiences..." Amy Binder, Social forces

"Thompson's approach to the analysis of political scandal brings together social science and discourse theories in a dynamic combination, thus illustrating how discourse analysts can learn from social scientists, and vice versa. The volume is a very useful reference for practitioners and students in media, political and critical discourse analysis." Discourse & Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745625492
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/27/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 0.81 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii
Preface ix
Acknowledgements xii
Introduction 1
1 What is Scandal? 11
The Concept of Scandal 11
Gossip, Rumour and Scandal 25
Corruption, Bribery and Scandal 28
2 The Rise of Mediated Scandal 31
The Transformation of Visibility 33
Early Uses of 'Scandal' in the Media 41
The Emergence of Scandal as a Mediated Event 50
3 Scandal as a Mediated Event 60
Some Characteristics of Mediated Scandals 61
The Sequential Structure of Mediated Scandals 72
Agents and Organizations 77
Experiencing Scandal as a Mediated Event 85
4 The Nature of Political Scandal 90
Defining Political Scandal 91
Symbolic Power and the Political Field 96
Why is Political Scandal More Prevalent Today? 106
Political Cultures of Scandal 116
5 Sex Scandals in the Political Field 119
Three Types of Political Scandal 120
Private Life in the Public Domain 124
A Venerable Tradition 129
Changing Times 143
6 Financial Scandals in the Political Field 159
The Interlacing of Money and Power 160
Private Interests and Public Duties 162
Politics and Corporate Power 176
The Whitewater Imbroglio 189
7 Power Scandals 196
The Unveiling of Hidden Powers 197
Watergate and the Iran-Contra Affair 200
The Rise of Security Scandals 218
Blurred Boundaries 228
8 The Consequences of Scandal 233
Four Theories of Scandal and its Consequences 234
Power, Reputation and Trust: Towards a Social Theory of Scandal 245
Conclusion 260
Notes 272
Index 308
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