"Reputational entrepreneurs" attempt to control the memory of historical figures through motivation, narrative facility, and institutional placement. Whereas the study of those remembered as great or evil draws on Durkheimian theory's consensus and cohesion, this does not explain the memory of the "incompetent." Reputational politics is an arena in which forces compete to control memory. Reputations are grounded in a social construction of character, subsequently generalized to policy and the character of the society. In the case of Warren G. Harding, the U.S. president rated lowest by historians and the public, political opponents set the agenda, while potential supporters did not defend him, given their political interests, structural positions, and a lack of credible narrative.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science