Accepted paper:

The Good, the Bad and the really Bad: politics and bureaucracy in a post-GFC Iceland

Author:

Helena Onnudottir (University of Western Sydney)

Paper short abstract:

Political corruption, personal greed and flawed individuals have been popular topics in various public media, for decades and with the advent of social media such topics have gained additional avenues which allow the everyday person to become an active participant in the reflections and ‘reports’.

Paper long abstract:

In Iceland, political corruption, personal greed and flawed individuals have been popular topics in public media, for decades and with the advent of social media such topics have gained additional avenues which allow the everyday person to become an active participant in the reflections and 'reports' constructed through online forums. This became very evident on the 16th of February, when Sigurdur Einarsson - one of the CEOs of Kaupthing, an Icelandic bank which failed in the course of the 2008 GFC - was sentenced to four years in prison by the High Court of Iceland. Following the sentencing, RUV reported in detail on the sentencing and then contacted Sigurdur via videophone call to London. A supposedly short call, turned into rather farcical conversation, where through bad connection a slurring Sigurdur attempted to express his feelings at the time. Immediately after, Facebook came alight with emotive postings, expressing everything from personal disgust, to pity and criticism. The initial discussion concentrated on speculations about the possible drunken state of Einarson, but soon the concentration turned to a debate about ethical conduct.: Was it right for RUV and Bogi (the reporter) to interview Sigurdur so soon after he received news of the verdict? In the span of only few minutes, the online discussion turned from revulsion and loathing, to critical, moralistic attack on the oldest television station in Iceland. This paper explores the manner in which the Icelandic bank failures have been cast as moral tales, populated by a cast of greedy and corrupt individuals.

panel Cit01
The moral economy of citizenship in late liberalism