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Creating Cultural Monsters: Serial Murder in America

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Creating Cultural Monsters: Serial Murder in America

This book explains connections between American culture and the incidence of serial murder, including reasons why most identified serial murderers are white, male Americans. It describes the omnipresence of serial murder in American media and investigates what it would take to decrease its occurrence.

By Julie Wiest,

ISBN: 9781439851548

Retail price: $79.95   $64.95

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  • Examines connections between American culture and the incidence of serial murder
  • Explains the reasons behind the higher incidence of serial murder in the United States when compared to other nations
  • Offers implications for law enforcement and mass media
  • Profiles notorious serial killers and their crimes, including Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, "BTK," the "Night Stalker," and the "Green River Killer"

     

Summary

Serial murderers generate an abundance of public interest, media coverage, and law enforcement attention, yet after decades of studies, serial murder researchers have been unable to answer the most important question: Why? Providing a unique and comprehensive exploration, Creating Cultural Monsters: Serial Murder in America explains connections between American culture and the incidence of serial murder, including reasons why most identified serial murderers are white, male Americans. It describes the omnipresence of serial murder in American media and investigates what it would take to decrease its occurrence.

 

Presenting empirically supported arguments that have the potential to revolutionize how serial murder is understood, studied, and investigated, this volume:

          Places the serial murder phenomenon in a cultural context, promoting qualitative understanding and the potential for reducing its frequency

  • Includes an illustrated model that explains how people utilize cultural values to construct lines of action according to their cultural competencies
  • Demonstrates how the American cultural milieu fosters serial murder and the creation of white male serial murderers
  • Provides a critique of the American mass media’s role in the development and notoriety of serial murder
  • Describes the framework on which the majority of definitions of serial murder are based

Drawn from years of dedicated research of Dr. Julie B. Wiest, this volume presents a new approach to the study of U.S. serial murder, offers important implications for law enforcement and mass media, and forms a basis for future research on serial murder, murder, and violence in the U.S. and in other nations.

Table of Contents

 

Introduction
Important Implications
Major Contributions
Book Organization
Part I: What We (Think We) Know about Serial Murder
Fundamentals of Serial Murder

Who Studies Serial Murder?
Law Enforcement Personnel
Academic Researchers
Journalists and True Crime Writers
Prevalence of Serial Murder
Definitions of Serial Murder
Distinguishing Serial Murder from Other Types of Murder
Defining Serial Murder
A Working Definition of Serial Murder
The "Typical" Serial Murderer
Popular Portrayals in American Media
Common Characteristics Identified by the FBI and Academic Researchers
Race
Gender
Sexuality
Nationality
Similarities with Other Types of Offenses
Other Serial Crimes
School Shootings
White Supremacy
Existing Explanations for Serial Murder
Psychological Explanations
Social Psychological Explanations
Sociological Explanations
A New Direction
Part II: A Sociocultural Approach to Understanding Serial Murder
Cultural Context of Serial Murder

Serial Murder in American Popular Culture
Serial Murderers as Monsters and Celebrities
Marketing Murderabilia
Cultural Context of Human Behavior: How Culture "Works"
Broadcasting Culture
"Tuning In" and Cultural Competencies
Building Lines of Action
Applying the Model of American Culture
American Cultural Values: Contextual Features Suitable for Serial Murder
Regard for Violence
Individual Accomplishment and Competition
Masculinities and Privilege
The Criminal Experience
Risk Taking and Thrill Seeking
Power and Control
Broadcasting Cultural Values: The Role of the American Mass Media
Representations of Crime
Model of Media Coverage
Narrative Structure
Initial Reports
Notoriety and Record Setting
Need to Know Why
Anniversary Stories
Missing Victims
Social Typing
Tuning In: Accepting the Messages
Regard for Violence
Individual Accomplishment and Competition
Masculinities and Privilege
The Criminal Experience
Risk Taking and Thrill Seeking
Power and Control
Culturally Familiar Imagery
Building Lines of Action: Using Cultural Values
Implications
Toward a Deeper Understanding
Investigative Considerations
Decreasing the Incidence of Serial Murder
Message Consistency
Protections for All
Appendix: Methodology
References
Index
Author

Published:  June 2011

Hard Cover

243 Pages

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