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Commentary on “Democracy and Scandal: A Research Agenda”

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For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

AbstractIn my original article “Scandals as a Positive Feature of Liberal Democratic Politics: A Durkheimian perspective” (2012b), I argued that scandals are actually a positive feature of liberal democratic politics, and rather than representing a threat to political stability serve an important function. Scandals provide a “safety valve” for the expression of negativity towards political actors while reinforcing collective values and ultimately strengthening the system, consistent with Durkheim’s ideas. The response to this article certainly contains some thought-provoking examples, but they do not contradict my argument that scandal can only occur in liberal democracies due to the necessity of freedom of speech, an open and aggressive media and strong political competition.

Affiliations: 1: University of MelbourneSchool of Social and Political Sciencessbrenton@unimelb.edu.au

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1. Australian Election Study "[Electronic data file]" Clive Bean, Ian McAllister and David Gow as the original analysts and collectors of the data bear no responsibility for this paper’s analysis or interpretation of the data 2007 Canberra Australian Social Science Data Archive, The Australian National University
2. Bird S. Elizabeth Lull James , Hinerman Stephen "“What a Story!: Understanding the Audience for Scandal”" Media Scandals: Morality and Desire in the Popular Culture Marketplace 1997 Cambridge Polity Press 99 121
3. Brenton Scott "“Public Confidence in Australian Democracy”" Democratic Audit of Australia 2008 Retrieved 15 September, 2013 ( ).
4. Brenton Scott Dowding Keith , Lewis Chris "“Ministers and Scandals”" Ministerial Careers and Accountability in the Australian Commonwealth Government 2012a Canberra ANU E Press 135 152
5. Brenton Scott "“Scandals as a Positive Feature of Liberal Democratic Politics: A Durkheimian Perspective”" Comparative Sociology 2012b Vol 11 6 815 844 http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/15691330-12341247
6. Durkheim Émile The Division of Labor in Society 1893/1984 New York Free Press
7. Fukuyama Francis The End of History and the Last Man 1992 New York Free Press
8. Gamson Joshua Apostolidis P. , Williams J. A. "“Normal Sins: Sex Scandal Narratives as Institutional Morality Tales”" Public Affairs: Politics in the Age of Sex Scandals 2004 Durham Duke University Press 39 68
9. Kenski Kate M. Denton R. E. Jr. , Holloway R. L. "“The Framing of Network News Coverage During the First Three Months of the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal”" Images, Scandal, and Communication Strategies of the Clinton Presidency 2003 Westport, Connecticut Praeger 247 270
10. Lull James , Hinerman Stephen Lull J. , Hinerman S. "“The Search for Scandal”" Media Scandals: Morality and Desire in the Popular Culture Marketplace 1997 Cambridge Polity Press 1 33
11. Neckel Sighard "“Political Scandals: An Analytical Framework”" Comparative Sociology 2005 Vol 4 1/2 101 111 http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1569133054621950
12. Parsons Wayne Public Policy: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis 1995 Aldershot, UK Edward Elgar
13. Tiffen Rodney Scandals: Media, Politics & Corruption in Contemporary Australia 1999 Sydney University of New South Wales Press
14. Williams Robert Political Scandals in the USA 1998 Edinburgh Keele University Press
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/content/journals/10.1163/15691330-12341286
2013-01-01
2016-12-08

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