Public Affairs: Politics in the Age of Sex Scandals

Public Affairs: Politics in the Age of Sex Scandals

by Paul Apostolidis
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822332760

ISBN-13: 9780822332763

Pub. Date: 01/14/2004

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

Public affairs—or sex scandals—involving prominent politicians are as revealing of American culture as they are of individual peccadillos. Implicated in their unfolding are a broad range of institutions, trends, questions, and struggles, including political parties, Hollywood, the Christian right, new communications technologies, the restructuring of

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Overview

Public affairs—or sex scandals—involving prominent politicians are as revealing of American culture as they are of individual peccadillos. Implicated in their unfolding are a broad range of institutions, trends, questions, and struggles, including political parties, Hollywood, the Christian right, new communications technologies, the restructuring of corporate media, feminist and civil rights debates, and the meaning of public life in the “society of the spectacle.” The contributors to Public Affairs examine, from a variety of perspectives, how political sex scandals take shape, gain momentum, and alter the U.S. political and cultural landscape.

The essays in Public Affairs reflect on a number of sex scandals while emphasizing the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, certainly the most avidly followed and momentous sex scandal in American political history. Leading scholars situate contemporary public affairs in the context not only of earlier sex scandals in American politics (such as Thomas Jefferson’s and Sally Hemings’s affair), but also of more purely political scandals (including Teapot Dome and Watergate) and sex scandals centered around public figures other than politicians (such as the actor Hugh Grant and the minister Jimmy Swaggart). Some essays consider the Clinton affair in light of feminist and anti-racist politics, while others discuss the dynamics of scandals as major media events. By charting a critical path through the muck of scandal rather than around it, Public Affairs illuminates why sex scandals have become such a prominent feature of American public life.

Contributors. Paul Apostolidis, Jodi Dean, Joshua Gamson, Theodore J. Lowi, Joshua D. Rothman, George Shulman, Anna Marie Smith, Jeremy Varon, Juliet A. Williams

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822332763
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
01/14/2004
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.64(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.91(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Sex Scandals and Discourses of Power1
Normal Sins: Sex Scandal Narratives as Institutional Morality Tales39
Power and Corruption: Political Competition and the Scandal Market69
Hardly Sallygate: Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and the Sex Scandal That Wasn't101
On "The Dalliances of the Commander in Chief": Christian Right Scandal Narratives in Post-Fordist America137
Narrating Clinton's Impeachment: Race, the Right, and Allegories of the Sixties167
Sexual Risk Management in the Clinton White House185
Privacy in the (Too Much) Information Age213
It Was the Spectacle, Stupid: The Clinton-Lewinsky-Starr Affair and the Politics of the Gaze232
Making (It) Public259
Notes on Contributors273
Index275

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