Power of Scandal: Semiotic and Pragmatic in Mass Media

Power of Scandal: Semiotic and Pragmatic in Mass Media

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Johannes Ehrat
Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2010
World Rights
432 Pages 2 Images
ISBN 9781442641259
Published Mar 2011
Online discount: 25%
 $80.00    $60.00
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442661684
Published Mar 2011
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $80.00

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 - which, in turn, is construed by media narratives. Scandal is powerful because of its ability to challenge institutions by destabilizing their legitimacy. The media plays an integral role in the creation of scandal because it interprets real events as purposeful actions for the public. Examining the ubiquity of scandals in today's mass media, Johannes Ehrat's conclusions are fresh and surprising.

Ehrat applies classic semiotic and pragmatic thought to contemporary media issues, mainly moralist discourse from sex abuse cases to the phenomenon of televangelism. Arguing that sociological and communications studies of scandal have ignored the media's 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.

Johannes Ehrat is a professor extraordinarius in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana.


PART 1: A Theoretical Approach to the Nature of Media Scandal

  1. How Scandal Research tends to treat the Achievement of Media Scandals
  2. Scandal as Logic: Ideal and Sanction
  3. Scandal as industrial Product and institutional Practice
  4. Media scandals and what they are not
  5. Video-truths
  6. Comprehending Media Scandals from Media
  7. Publicity Narrative as Precondition of Scandals

PART 2: What is Publicity, the Public Sphere?

  1. Publicity as methodological Construct
  2. Publicity as Simulacrum
  3. Publicity and Meaning as Subsistence
  4. Semiotic as Theory of formal and concrete Meaning

PART 3: Semiotic of Publicity

  1. Publicity as Teleology
  2. Legitimacy
  3. Public Opinion as historical-cultural role relation
  4. Public Opinion as Theatre
  5. Public Opinion operates by constructing the Role of Enunciation Instance

PART 4: Publicity in Media Theory

  1. Media functional or semiotic?
  2. Is there a Need for a separate Semiotic Media Theory?
  3. Signs of Society
  4. Functions of the Three Correlates in the Media Sign
  5. Technological Determination or Sign Process: the case of Televangelism
  6. Godcasting: Meaning Apparatuses of Religious Self-display

PART 5: From Jubilation to Scandal

  1. Religious Meaning outside of Public Opinion
  2. Television Studies and Aesthetic Form
  3. Media Construction of Religious Space and Time
  4. The 'Call Forward'
  5. Witnessing
  6. PrayTV yields to PreyTV: Acts of Televangelist Authority
  7. Primordial Scandal Religion

PART 6: Judgement: Bringing into a Scandal-Position

  1. Scandal Technique
  2. Investigative Journalism and Objectivity
  3. Metatexts: Simplifying Sanctions in Public Opinion Texts
  4. Metatext I: The Permission to Act
  5. Metatext II: The Scale of Self-Realisation
  6. Deduction of Classes of Scandal
  7. Scandal of Destination
  8. Scandal of Action

PART 7: The Course of the Scandal Pro-Gramme

  1. Media Scandal Methods
  2. Event: How Destination in the Shanley story created the Scandal
  3. The role structure of the Shanley-story
  4. Two discursive Scandal Constructions
  5. Reality: News Practice between Reality Determination and satirical alienation

PART 8: Effect and Reality of Scandal

  1. Scandal as Objectivity Effect
  2. Objective Scandal Effects
  3. Scandal as Effect
  4. Critique of Subjectivity Approaches and Functionalism
  5. Scandal Effect as Semiotic
  6. Institutions as pragmatic Predetermination of Purpose
  7. De-Legitimization of an Institution as Purpose of Media Scandals