Call for Papers (closed)

Call for Papers

1st International Conference in Scandalogy

The current state of research on a social phenomenon


University of Bamberg

Department of Communication Studies and Department of German Studies

Bamberg, Germany

7-8 April 2016


Various academic disciplines have started to intensify research on scandals as social phenomena. Especially communication and media studies and political science place emphasis on researching scandals, as a number of thematically relevant publications and conferences within these disciplines illustrate (e.g. ECREA conference on “The mediation of scandal and moral outrage”).

‘The scandal’ as a social phenomenon can be approached from several academic perspectives. Arguably, ‘the science of scandals’ qualifies as a distinct interdisciplinary research field.

The aim of this conference is to foster exchange between “scandalogists” from different academic disciplines in order to gather and present recent findings from a wide range of theoretical approaches. Hence this call is addressed to all researchers who have a scientific interest in scandals.

We especially invite scholars of communication and media studies, political science, literary studies, sociology, psychology, ethnology, and history to contribute. Papers may address a diverse range of topics including the following:

Communication and media studies

Under what conditions are violations of social norms publicly condemned, creating a “media scandal” (Burkhardt, 2006)? How do social agents, e.g. journalists, contribute to such dynamics of scandalization? What accounts for the great interest of media users in scandalized topics? Do media and communication history contribute to a better understanding of the omnipresence of mass-mediated scandals today?


Do “cultures of scandal” (Hondrich, 2002) which determine specific patterns of action and topical selections of scandalization exist?

Ethnology and cultural studies

Do typical conflict-patterns of scandalization constitute an anthropological constant which allows us to derive trans-historically and -culturally valid observations about social coexistence?



What effect does ‘scandalized’ discourse have on media agents and media users? Do scan-dals have a specific function for individuals, for instance as regards moral attitudes?

Political science

What functions do scandals have in democratic societies and to what purpose are scandals communicated in illiberal regimes? Do scandals exist in dictatorships in the same sense as in democratic societies?

Literary studies

When are scandals used as a marketing strategy? Is it possible to calculate the risks and opportunities of literary scandals? Is the literary scandal a phenomenon where the artist is merely ‘doing her job’ by using competencies and resources of her public image to an economical end? Are there also specific milieus and target-groups where the literary scandal is a possibility to channel a latent hostility towards ‘art’?


Confirmed keynote speakers

Prof. Dr. Robert M. Entman (School of Media and Public Affairs / George Washington University)

Prof. Dr. Steffen Burkhardt (Hamburg University of Applied Sciences)

Prof. Dr. Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf (WWU Münster)