Inleiding. Karaktermoord is een tijdloos wapen | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 134 Number 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



Character assassination is the deliberate destruction of an individual’s reputation or credibility. While the term itself is relatively new, the practices it describes can be found in virtually all cultures and historical epochs. Despite their great variety, character attacks share five common aspects or pillars: they involve an attacker, a target, a medium, an audience and they take place in a particular cultural, political and technological context. In recent times there has been a surge in scholarship on character assassination from a range of academic disciplines, including political science, rhetoric and communication studies. This thematic issue will explore the historical dimensions of character assassination and the challenges and opportunities that come with it. It will focus in particular on the role that various media – ranging from Roman histories and medieval chronicles to nineteenth-century cartoons – have played in shaping practices of character assassination throughout the ages.


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