A guarantee of safety, a cautionary tale or a celebration? Popularity of true crime narratives through the lens of Mary Douglas’s concepts of pollution and defilement
Keywordsfan studies, true crime, Mary Douglas, fandom
The fascination with crime, hastily described by some as a symptom of moral degradation of Western culture, seems to be a defence mechanism used by individuals to deal with social transgressions and anomalies represented by serious crimes. The aim of this article is to analyse the growing popularity of true crime through the lens of Mary Douglas’s theory of purity and pollution, with a particular emphasis on the methods of dealing with anomalies appearing within conceptual schemata of a given culture. For this purpose, the text has been divided into four parts: the first part briefly presents the history of true crime; the second part analyses the idea of murder through the lens of Douglas’s theory; the third part discusses the reasons behind the popularity of true crime narratives; and the fourth part showcases how individuals use true crime stories as tools to deal with anomalies.
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