Scandalogy: Interdisciplinary Research in Scandals, Media & Society

Scandals are actions that constitute moral or legal transgressions. Corruption affairs, doping cases, and environmental pollution trigger public outrage and involve intensifying phases of media coverage. As such, scandals are not only an essential part of social discourse in modern societies but also of relevance for the field of communication and media studies.

The research initiative fosters a network of international scholars from the broader academic field, such as political communication, journalism studies, public relations, digital communication research, and cultural studies. Its research output is primarily presented in bi-annual conferences and compiled in collected volumes.

The variety of disciplines that focus on scandals as social phenomena warrants proclaiming “Scandalogy” its own field of investigation. In this sense, Scandalogy aims to improve our understanding of the interrelations of scandals and media and study their impact on society.

As a founder of the research iniative, Dr. Hendrik Michael represents Scandalogy at the Institute of Communication Studies here in Bamberg. Prof. (FH) Dr. André Haller represents Scandalogy at University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tyrol.


This edited volume presents contributions from international researchers. The book combines empirical research and theoretical studies on scandals which were presented at the 1stInternational Conference in Scandalogy at the University of Bamberg in 2016. Contributions range from the field of communication studies to literary analysis. The publication is a pioneering work that maps the new research field of Scandalogy. You find more information here.

How certain actions lead to mediated scandalization and public outrage is an indicator for the specific scandal culture of a society. For instance, sex scandals used to end political careers in the USA. Nevertheless, the prominent case of Silvio Berlusconi shows that there may be a different 'Mediterranean scandal culture'. With larger political and technological trends in mind, it seems evident that scandal cultures are mutable - although by a long process. The book examines such phenomena more closely because scandal studies lack a deeper analysis of cultural factors in the process of (non-)scandalization. In this publication international researchers present desiderata of scandalogy for cultures of scandals and scandals in culture. Click here for details about the topics and content of the book

This books presents research on mediated scandas and substantiates the understanding of such forms of scandals and thei impact on societies. It connects the study of scandals with the broader field of political communication research, organizational communication, journalism studies, and digital communication studies. The authors focus on the 21st century as an age of perpetual scandalization and on digital technologies as a catalyst in this respect. Against this backdrop, the book examines different aspects of the transformation of mediated scandals through digital communication practices. Click here to get more information about the book.


The aim of this conference was to foster exchange between “scandalogists” from different academic disciplines in order to gather and present recent findings from a wide range of theoretical approaches. We were pleased to welcome scholars from Austria, Portugal, Italy, Finland, Algeria, USA, Russia, and Germany to Bamberg. Keynotes were delivered by Prof. Dr. Robert M. Entman (School of Media and Public Affairs / George Washington University), Prof. Dr. Steffen Burkhardt (Hamburg University of Applied Sciences) and Prof. Dr. Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf (WWU Münster). For more information see here.

The 2nd conference in Scandalogy followed the theme "Cultures of Scandals - Scandals in Culture". It established contacts with colleagues around the globe, who are interested in research of scandals. The conference was conceived as a forum for an academic dialogue about scandals as social phenomena. Prof. Dr. Hans-Mathias Kepplinger (University of Mainz) delivered a keynote on "Functional Analysis or Impact Research - Where is Scandal Research Going?" For more information see here.

The conference focused on “Scandals in New Media Environments”. The overarching theme served a two-fold goal: On the one hand, we intensified research on mediated scandals and substantiated our understanding of such forms of scandals and their impact on societies. On the other hand, we connected the study of scandals with a larger scientific community in the broad field of digital communication research, be it in organizational communication, journalism studies, political communication research or other fields. For more information see here.

The conference theme acknowledges the growing presence of populism, partisanship, and polarization and the need to analyze what this means for scandalization processes. Thus, the aim of this conference is to better understand possible impacts of these phenomena on public discourse and media practices from an interdisciplinary and critical scientific perspective. The organizers call for proposals in all subfields of communication studies, political communication research as well as related disciplines and invite conceptual, empirical, and methodological proposals reflecting on political scandals and the role which media and/or communication plays therein. For more information see here.

Academic events

Character assassination and scandals have a lot in common! To explore the links, CARP Lab will host the founders of the Scandalogy Research Initiative, André Haller of the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tyrol (Austria) and Hendrik Michael of the University of Bamberg (Germany). In this webinar, Haller and Michael discuss the transformation of scandals by drawing on a comparative framework that makes sense of scandals in global media systems.


Together with crisis researcher W. Timothy Coombs from Texas A&M University we discuss character assassination, scandals, and crisis communication.

Research cooperations

The Lab for Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP) is an interdisciplinary research team of scholars studying character assassination. It was founded in 2016 in cooperation with the International Society for the Study of Character Assassination (ISSCA). CARP includes researchers with disciplinary homes in psychology, history, communication, and public relations. The research team spans continents, including scholars here at George Mason University and at the University of Amsterdam.

Prof. (FH) Dr. André Haller is one of the founders of Scandalogy and is working at the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tyrol. His research interests are Political and Strategical Communication and Scandal and Crisis Communication. He co-edited the Scandalogy collected volumes with Dr. Hendrik Michael. His recent publications can be found on the University’s Website.