While scandals are relatively rare, sin is common enough. Neither the chronic administrative failings, small carelessnesses, nor institutional brutality of the long-stay hospital, nor even the abuse of children or the violent deaths of innocent bystanders, are sufficient cause for scandal. This book is about the process whereby such everyday tragedies are transformed into something extraordinary; the process whereby events that are local and personal become national and public; the process whereby the specific comes to stand for the general, and where meanings and historical significance become attached to acts and events which at other times might have passed almost unobserved. While the means whereby scandal is constructed and sustained is a central concern of this book, its particular interest is in how scandals illuminate the process whereby public policy, specifically welfare policy, is produced. The obvious connection between a scandal and the production of welfare policy is the Committee of Inquiry.
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