The Downfall of public heroes

Hans Nelen, Frank Gemert van

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the introductory article of this special issue on the downfall of popular heroes, some relevant aspects in relation to the general theme are explored. Who are considered to be heroes and which elements are relevant to understand the process heroes may go through when they start sliding on the slippery slope, and, eventually, fall into the abyss of disgrace? What is the role that (social) media play in the demolition of their reputation and how do heroes perceive their own downfall and respond to it? The theoretical concept that is used in this article is Howard Becker’s master status and, in particular, the notion that the master status of a fallen hero surpasses and contaminates all other statuses, previously possessed by an individual.
Translated title of the contributionThe Downfall of public heroes
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalTijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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