Journal Article

The New Normal: Scandals as a Standard Feature of Political Life in Nordic Countries


Sigurd Allern, Anu Kantola, Ester Pollack, Mark Ørsten


All political scandals trigger discussions of trust, but in a competitive commercial media climate, both important and minor legal offences and moral transgressions are regularly treated as scandalous media events. Today, actors in social media and mainstream media organizations can collaborate on cases that might develop into scandal news. In this article, which is based on an analysis of 101 political scandals in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 2010 to 2016—and a study of political scandals in the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2017–2018—we show that mediated scandals have become a standard feature of political life in Nordic countries. Compared with earlier decades, there has been an exponential rise in the number of scandals; at the same time, the rate of resignations and dismissals following scandals is lower than before. Offences related to economic affairs, including corruption, and personal behavior scandals, such as accusations of sexual harassment, constitute the most prominent scandal types. However, regarding sexually related behavior scandals, there are interesting differences between the Nordic countries.

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    International Journal of Communication (ISSN 132-8036), Vol 12.
  • Pages:
  • Published:
  • Language:

About the Authors

Sigurd Allern

Utbildning: Dr.polit. vid Universitetet i Bergen (1997). Magistergrad i sociologi, Universitetet i Oslo, 1974. Professor i journalistik vid Universitetet i Oslo sedan 2003. Bonnier professor, JMK, Stockholms Universitet, 2008. Gästprofessor Stoc... Read more

Ester Pollack

Ester Pollack, PhD, is a Professor of Journalism Studies in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University. Her research combines sociological and historical perspectives on the relations between two of society’s institutions: journalism ... Read more


Allern, S., Kantola, A., Pollack, E. and Ørsten, M. (2018). The New Normal: Scandals as a Standard Feature of Political Life in Nordic Countries. International Journal of Communication (ISSN 132-8036), 12, pp. 3087-3108. Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2022].