On Scandal: Moral Disturbances in Society, Politics, and Art

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-07-13
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Scandal is the quintessential public event. Here is the first general and comprehensive analysis of this ubiquitous moral phenomenon. Taking up wide-ranging cases in society, politics, and art, Ari Adut shows when wrong-doings generate scandals and when they do not. He focuses on the emotional and cognitive experience of scandals and the relationships among those who are involved in or exposed to them. This perspective explains variations in the effects, frequency, elicited reactions, outcomes, and strategic uses of scandals. On Scandal offers provocative accounts of the Oscar Wilde, Watergate, and Lewinsky affairs. Adut also employs the lens of scandal to address puzzles and questions regarding public life. Why is American politics plagued by sex scandals? What is the cause of the rise in political scandals in Western democracies? Why were Victorians sometimes very accommodating and other times very intolerant of homosexuality? What is the social logic of hypocrisy?

Author Biography

Ari Adut is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds Postgraduate degrees from cole des Hautes tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and the University of Chicago, where he has also taught. His research has received support from the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
The Disruptive Publicity of Transgressionp. 8
What Is Scandal?p. 11
The Transgressionp. 13
The Publicizerp. 14
The Publicp. 16
More Complex Formsp. 17
Publicityp. 19
Scandal as Lived Experiencep. 21
Contaminationp. 24
Associative Contaminationp. 24
Audience Contaminationp. 25
Aggravating Elementsp. 27
Provocationp. 31
What Followsp. 34
The Fall of Oscar Wildep. 38
The Scandal of Homosexuality in Victorian Englandp. 41
Victorians and Oscar Wilde before His Trialsp. 47
The Impending Scandalp. 52
The Dynamics of the Oscar Wilde Affairp. 53
The Libel Trialp. 57
The Prosecution and Conviction of Wildep. 60
The Presidency, Imperial and Imperiledp. 73
Political Scandalp. 73
Democracy and Political Scandalp. 75
The Mediap. 77
Moral Attack and Vulnerabilityp. 81
The Vulnerabilities of Presidentsp. 82
Sociopolitical Conjuncturep. 83
Mode of Presidential Governancep. 85
The Traditional Presidency and Its Scandalsp. 86
The Modern Presidency and Its Protectionsp. 93
The Making of Watergatep. 99
The Transgressionsp. 103
The Unfolding of Watergatep. 107
The Presidency after Watergatep. 114
Imperial Tendencies in the 2000sp. 124
Investigating Corruption in Francep. 129
Norm Entrepreneurshipp. 130
Scandal and Norm Entrepreneurshipp. 131
Corruption in Francep. 133
Transformations in the Eightiesp. 136
The French Penal Procedure and the Investigating Magistratesp. 141
The Mobilization of the Investigating Magistratesp. 143
The Scandal Strategiesp. 148
Techniques of Insubordinationp. 149
Targeting Higher-upsp. 150
Publicizing the Transgressionp. 153
Challenging the Political Elitep. 158
The Consequences of the Scandalsp. 160
The Limits and Discontents of Scandalp. 168
Sex and the American Public Spherep. 175
Sex and Scandalp. 182
Sex and Politics in the Nineteenth-Century United Statesp. 185
The Rise of Modestyp. 190
Sexual Liberalization and the Decline of Modestyp. 197
The Rise of Sexual Politicsp. 203
The Making of the Lewinsky Affairp. 209
Provocation in Artp. 224
Transgression in Art and Its Effectsp. 225
Impressionism and Its Scandalsp. 234
The Moral Logics of Modern Artp. 248
Subversive Contentp. 249
Form and Moralityp. 254
The Paradoxes of Contemporary Artp. 271
The Crisis of the Art Objectp. 271
The Return of the Realp. 283
Conclusionp. 287
Notesp. 291
Referencesp. 321
Indexp. 343
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