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


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.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Communication
Antal sider33
StatusUdgivet - 8 aug. 2018


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

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