Power of Scandal: Semiotic and Pragmatic in Mass Media
Are there events that are inherently scandalous? Power of Scandal finds that the very idea of 'scandal' is derived not from an event but from public opinion û which, in turn, is constructed by media narratives. Scandal is powerful because of its ability to challenge institutions by destabilizing their legitimacy. The media play an integral role in the creation of scandal because they interpret real events as purposeful actions for the public. Examining the ubiquity of scandals in today's mass media, Johannes Ehrat comes to conclusions that are fresh and surprising.
Ehrat applies classic semiotic and pragmatic thought to contemporary media issues, from moralist discourse surrounding sex abuse cases to the phenomenon of televangelism. Arguing that sociological and communications studies of scandal have ignored its constructed nature, Ehrat focuses on how meaningful public narrative is produced. By examining the parallel worlds of media and public opinion, Power of Scandal uses an alternative heuristic for understanding mass communication that is both rigorous and sophisticated.
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action actors aesthetic analysed audiovisual become behaviour Boston Globe causality claim cognition communication complex concept concrete conduct constitutes constraint construction context Correlate cultural determinate differentiation discourse effect Ehrat enunciation instance ethical exist existential graphs experience facts factual function genre goal grasp Habermas Habermas’s historical hypotaxis idea ideal identity industrial institution interest interpretation investigative journalism journalistic legitimization logic Luhmann mass media meaning media scandal media theory medium merely metaphysical metatext method moral narration narrative nature nominalistic norms object one’s opin Peirce Peirce’s perspective political possible practice Pragmatic Maxim pragmatic subject Pragmaticism precisely predetermination presupposes priest principle problem production public opinion purpose question reality religion religious representation rhetoric role rules sanction semiotic sense Shanley sign process sign relation social society Spencer-Brown story systems theory teleology televangelism televangelist shows television temporal tion triadic triadic relation truth θέατρον