Politics of Scandal

Andrei S. Markovits, Other Holmes & Meier Publishers $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8419-1098-0
These nine essays by American and British political scientists illuminate the phenomenon of political scandal. In their introduction, the editors argue that political scandal is ``an abuse of the liberal tradition that inevitably culminates in a celebration of the values of that tradition.'' The scandals examined here have played an ambiguously ``purifying'' role in their given societies. Watergate highlighted the tacit Faustian pact the American people make with their president; consequently, Richard Nixon waged a ``futile battle to escape his fate.'' Italian debacles, replete with Mafia and murder, uncovered an informal or ``occult'' power that penetrated the highest echelons of legitimate Italian power. The Der Spiegel affair in West Germany demonstrated the abuse and circumvention of law by a minister of the state in order to pursue a personal vendetta. The Greenpeace fiasco exposed the French government's paranoia concerning its nuclear defense policy. ``Political scandals,'' contends one contributor, are ``a rich source of edification and amusement.'' And as this collection aptly demonstrates, they are also an indispensable ``tool to understand the institutional configurations that permit it and the political cultures that tolerate it.'' Markovits coedited Advances in the Social Sciences, 1900-1980 and Silverstein wrote Constitutional Faiths. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1991
Hardcover - 275 pages - 978-0-8419-1097-3
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