Wednesday, September 19, 2012
WHEN THE PERSONAL BECOMES POLITICAL: MITIGATING DAMAGE FOLLOWING SCANDALS
"Sex scandals engage the politically uninterested with more culturally proximate
narratives of recognizable themes of broken hearts, broken families and broken marriages, which
mimic soaps and enable moral reflection on larger social issues."
In a recent study done by Iowa University the affects of scandals towards a politian's career was done. This test was an experimental test, where the scientist used fictional newspaper clippings to create fictional scenarios in which people's reactions where then tested based on "four types of accounting strategies: concessions (admissions of wrongdoing or apologies and remorse), excuses (acknowledgement of wrongdoing but denial of personal responsibility or blaming others or circumstances), justifications (accepting responsibility but redefining the act or its consequences as less serious), and refusals (denials)." I found this study to be a good example of an experimental study, yet I am able to find issues. One issue that is clear from the start is the test subjects, "The non-probability, opportunistic sample was drawn from two university subjects (one undergraduate introductory political science subject and one postgraduate public administration subject). Two hundred and forty students (93 males and 147 females) aged between 18 and 46 years (mean age was 22 years) participated (a response rate of over 95 percent), with the skew towards female and younger participants reflecting the general composition of the courses. In terms of partisanship, the sample was broadly representative of the general population. " But my question is, is this an accurate test group, if each test subject is taken from two coures of study are not many social and cultural groups left out? The researchers state that this study is an accurate representation of the general publie but they have rejected the non-college educated class, as well as anyone not currently enrolled in college courses. I think that it is clear that while attending college peoples views can be swayed or changed by peers and collegiate perspectives but the view of the college student typically diminishes shortly after graduation. Yes, there is a large range of age differences and a balanced range of gender but not of educational background. And who's to say that someone who has not experienced the diversity of the college experience would share their same options on what is morally acceptable. It is important to also notice that each survey was taken at a single college. Which allows for many cultural differences such as political, social and religious beliefs. This is important to know when analyzing their data. The researchers state that "scandalous transgressions can seem more remarkable when characteristics of difference are involved, particularly race, gender, class and sexual orientation." This could be caused by the limited study group and could possibly be drastically different if this exact study was performed in New York City. To me this study is a generalization of human views and not a study of general population but of the views of a college student.
Read more into the study here.