The New Normal

Scandals as a Standard Feature of Political Life in Nordic Countries

Ester Pollack, Sigurd Allern, Anu Kantaloa, Mark Ørsten

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

This article analyses mediated, national political scandals in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden covering the period 1980–2016. While political scandals were a rare phenomenon in the decades following WW2, scandal reports have since the millennium regularly caught the public’s attention. The average yearly incidence still seems to be increasing regarding all scandal types, but has been especially strong for norm violations linked to personal behaviour scandals. Politicians with government positions are especially scandal prone. Only a minority of the scandals are, however, based on journalistic revelations of severe corruption cases and abuse of power. Many are person-oriented ‘small scale scandals’ that quickly arouse public interest, but also quickly are forgotten. When the distinction between the important and the trivial is blurred, the dramaturgy of media hunts provokes reactions and decisions that are incompatible with thorough debates, and democratic decision-making.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Communication
Vol/bind12
Antal sider33
ISSN1932-8036
StatusUdgivet - 8 aug. 2018

Emneord

  • political scandal, media, journalism, moral transgressions, distrust, power, democracy, Nordic countries

Citer dette

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title = "The New Normal: Scandals as a Standard Feature of Political Life in Nordic Countries",
abstract = "All political scandals trigger discussions of trust, but in a competitive, commercial media climate, both important and minor legal offences as well as moral transgressions are regularly treated as scandalous media events. Today, actors in social media and mainstream media organizations can collaborate on cases that might develop into scandal news. In this article, which is based on an analysis of 101 political scandals in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 2010–2016 – and a study of political scandals in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2017-2018 – we show that mediated scandals have become a standard feature of political life in Nordic countries. Compared with earlier decades, there has been an exponential rise in the number of scandals; at the same time, the rate of resignations and dismissals following scandals is lower than before. Offences related to economic affairs, including corruption, and personal behavior scandals, such as accusations of sexual harassment, constitute the most prominent scandal types. However, regarding sexually-related behavior scandals, there are interesting differences between the Nordic countries.",
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The New Normal : Scandals as a Standard Feature of Political Life in Nordic Countries. / Pollack, Ester; Allern, Sigurd; Kantaloa, Anu; Ørsten, Mark.

I: International Journal of Communication, Bind 12, 08.08.2018.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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N2 - All political scandals trigger discussions of trust, but in a competitive, commercial media climate, both important and minor legal offences as well as moral transgressions are regularly treated as scandalous media events. Today, actors in social media and mainstream media organizations can collaborate on cases that might develop into scandal news. In this article, which is based on an analysis of 101 political scandals in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 2010–2016 – and a study of political scandals in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2017-2018 – we show that mediated scandals have become a standard feature of political life in Nordic countries. Compared with earlier decades, there has been an exponential rise in the number of scandals; at the same time, the rate of resignations and dismissals following scandals is lower than before. Offences related to economic affairs, including corruption, and personal behavior scandals, such as accusations of sexual harassment, constitute the most prominent scandal types. However, regarding sexually-related behavior scandals, there are interesting differences between the Nordic countries.

AB - All political scandals trigger discussions of trust, but in a competitive, commercial media climate, both important and minor legal offences as well as moral transgressions are regularly treated as scandalous media events. Today, actors in social media and mainstream media organizations can collaborate on cases that might develop into scandal news. In this article, which is based on an analysis of 101 political scandals in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 2010–2016 – and a study of political scandals in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2017-2018 – we show that mediated scandals have become a standard feature of political life in Nordic countries. Compared with earlier decades, there has been an exponential rise in the number of scandals; at the same time, the rate of resignations and dismissals following scandals is lower than before. Offences related to economic affairs, including corruption, and personal behavior scandals, such as accusations of sexual harassment, constitute the most prominent scandal types. However, regarding sexually-related behavior scandals, there are interesting differences between the Nordic countries.

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