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When the Dust Doesn't Settle: Scandal Re-activation and Re-framing

At a glance


Scandals are ubiquitous social phenomena that can have disastrous consequences for the actors involved, their associates, and society in general since they can undermine trust in the institutions that link society. Well-known scandals like Enron, Parmalat, FIFA, and the recent fall of Credit Suisse resulted in a loss of confidence in companies and institutions and brought about significant changes in the countries affected.

Most scandals suddenly hit the news and require a period of sensemaking until a prominent frame emerges. After that, they become “old news" and gradually disappear from media and public attention. However, some scandals are reactivated years later, and their original understanding is challenged; existing literature has not adequately explained how and why this can happen. This research project aims to answer this research question: How and why can scandals be reactivated and reframed over time? The research methodology would be to apply a mixed-methods approach that includes quantitative analysis of media articles and qualitative analysis of interviews.