Public Affairs

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2004-02-01
  • Publisher: Duke Univ Pr

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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 toPublic Affairsexamine, from a variety of perspectives, how political sex scandals take shape, gain momentum, and alter the U.S. political and cultural landscape.The essays inPublic Affairsreflect 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 Affairsilluminates why sex scandals have become such a prominent feature of American public life.Contributors:Paul Apostolidis; Jodi Dean; Joshua Gamson; Theodore J. Lowi; Joshua Rothman; George Shulman; Anna Marie Smith; Jeremy Varon; Juliet Williams

Table of Contents

Introduction: Sex Scandals and Discourses of Power
Sex Scandals in U.S. Politics: Theoretical, Social, and Historical Contexts
Normal Sins: Sex Scandal Narratives as Institutional Morality Tales
Power and Corruption: Political Competition and the Scandal Market
Hardly Sallygate: Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and the Sex Scandal That Wasn't
Class, Race, and Gender in the Clinton Scandal
On "The Dalliances of the Commander in Chief": Christian Right Scandal Narratives in Post-Fordist America
Narrating Clinton's Impeachment: Race, the Right, and Allegories of the Sixties
Sexual Risk Management in the Clinton White House
Privacy and Publicity, and the Conditions of Democratic Citizenship
Privacy in the (Too Much) Information Age
It Was the Spectacle, Stupid: The Clinton-Lewinsky-Starr Affair and the Politics of the Gaze
Making (It) Public
Notes on Contributors
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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