Naming and shaming: Trial by media in nineteenth-century Scotland

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Copyright © The North American Conference on British Studies 2015. This article examines the relationship between shame and police court media trial reports. It explores the social and cultural mores that underpinned the construction of shaming practices in trial coverage and assesses the ways in which the media functioned as a judicial and extrajudicial shaming resource. Far from disappearing with changing sensibilities, as has been argued elsewhere, premodern religious and judicial shaming methods shifted into areas of modernity, being relayed, supported, and influenced by new forms of modern print culture. The media, this article contends, served as an extension of the disciplinary apparatus, with editors applying their own assumptions about the guilt of the accused regardless of judicial verdicts and in line with their own notion of common-sense lay justice. The use of shame, though, was discriminatory - mirroring, and even helping to define, middle-class notions of shameful behavior and masculine and feminine conduct - which would, crucially, expose the social and cultural confines of media censure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-376
JournalJournal of British Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


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