Government Communications and the Crisis of Trust

From Political Spin to Post-truth

Authors: Garland, Ruth

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  • Examines UK government communications between 1979 and 2020, using witness as well as archival material
  • Develops a critical/historical approach to the rarely defined or deconstructed ideas of political spin and post-truth
  • Conducts a thorough investigation into impartiality, ethics and propriety in government communications
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-77576-6
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Hardcover 103,99 €
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About this book

This book opens up the black box of government communication during the age of political spin, using archival and official documents, memoirs and biographies, and in-depth interviews with media, political and government witnesses. It argues that substantive and troubling long-term changes in the ways governments manage the media and publicly account for themselves undermine the public consent essential to democracy.  Much of the blame for this crisis in public communication has been placed at the feet of politicians and their aides, but they are just part of the picture. A pervasive ‘culture of mediatization’ has developed within governments, leading to intended and unintended consequences that challenge the capacity of central public bureaucracies to implement public values and maintain impartiality. It concludes that public servants, elected officials and citizens have an important role to play in accounting for governments’ custodianship of this most politically-sensitive of public goods – the public communications function.

About the authors

Ruth Garland worked in public sector public relations for 28 years before taking a PhD at the London School of Economics, UK.  She is Associate Lecturer in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, and has taught at the LSE, Kings College London, University of Hertfordshire and Brunel University.

Reviews

The fascinating “Government Communications and the Crisis of Trust» shows how the British civil service information machine has evolved from WW2, taking the Iraq War, Brexit and latterly the coronavirus pandemic, as case studies. Garland identifies the arrival of 24/7 media and the rise of special advisers as main drivers of the blurring of boundaries between impartial and partisan communication; a journey from ‘political spin’ to ‘post-truth’ that over time has undermined public trust. This interesting and highly relevant book is a must read for all political science and political communication scholars.

Kristoffer Kolltveit, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Oslo - kristoffer.kolltveit@stv.uio.no 

Understanding the decline of public trust, and the extent public perceive governments as manipulating them, is an important area of study and the with a backdrop of anti-elitism that emerged in the UK to culminate in Brexit is an excellent case study. Garland’s work highlights how communicating for public good has become secondary to gaining and maintaining power. Offering a route map to reasserting public good, the work should be compulsory reading for anyone entering the world of political communication

Professor Darren G. Lilleker (Bournemouth University) -  DLilleker@bournemouth.ac.uk

“This is an excellent book on the age of political spin in the UK from the beginning of the Thatcher administration to the current post-Brexit government of Boris Johnson. The book is highly readable, theoretically informed and underpinned by rigorous empirical research. Ruth Garland’s study of government communication uses elite interviews, archival and documentary sources to shine a light on the struggles, alliances and rivalries characterising the relationships between the media, civil servants, special advisers and the political class at the heart of British democracy. Her work draws attention to dangers inherent in the response to the processes of mediatisation by the main political actors during a period of profound change to the political communication practices and the constitutional architecture of the UK.” 

Ian Somerville, Head of School of Media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester

Table of contents (12 chapters)

Table of contents (12 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 85,59 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-77576-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 103,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-77575-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Government Communications and the Crisis of Trust
Book Subtitle
From Political Spin to Post-truth
Authors
Copyright
2021
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-77576-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-77576-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-77575-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 202
Topics