Crime and Criminals

Overview

Popular culture -- the common set of entertainment, arts, and customs shared by large segments of the population -- both reflects and influences society's values and beliefs. Popular music, fashions, movies, and other entertainment often encapsulate the attitudes of the mass culture. At the same time, they provide a powerful forum for the transmission of new ideas and passionate beliefs about social issues. Studying the evolution of pop culture thus allows students to better understand the social forces that have...
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Overview

Popular culture -- the common set of entertainment, arts, and customs shared by large segments of the population -- both reflects and influences society's values and beliefs. Popular music, fashions, movies, and other entertainment often encapsulate the attitudes of the mass culture. At the same time, they provide a powerful forum for the transmission of new ideas and passionate beliefs about social issues. Studying the evolution of pop culture thus allows students to better understand the social forces that have shaped -- and continue to shape -- America's social and political landscape. Greenhaven Press's Examining Pop Culture series provides students with the resources to begin exploring the complex role of pop culture as the expresser and shaper of cultural values and social institutions. Each volume in the series begins with an introductory essay and the selections that follow offer a survey of critical thought about the subject. Because what is "popular" changes from year to year and even month to month, essays are intended to introduce readers to the major themes and issues associated with each topic. Each book contains a comprehensive index to help readers quickly locate material of interest and each volume has an annotated bibliography to provide avenues for further research.

Discusses issues related to America's obsession with crime and criminals, especially as it is influenced and propagated by the media which can draw attention, distort facts, and even praise criminal acts.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Does the film Natural Born Killers encourage serial slayings or is it simply an excuse for those already predisposed to violence? Did the FBI find the notorious escaped hijacker D. B. Cooper right before his death in Florida, 24 years after his crime? Drawing from a wide variety of sources, this slim volume attempts to look at crime through the lens of popular culture and includes discussion of Western outlaws, Robin Hood, gangsters and the Mafia, the public's fascination with serial killers, and reality crime shows such as Cops. The varied content makes interesting leisure reading, and will be useful for debates. There are some useful facts and statistics on these pages, but students would do well to double-check the information because one article states that the shootings at Columbine High School occurred in 1996, not 2000. The "further research" section lists a few books, periodicals, and Web sites, which may also interest true-crime aficionados. While not a first purchase, this book may fill a niche in some libraries.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780737714319
  • Publisher: Gale Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Series: Examining Pop Culture Series
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 15 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Introduction 12
Chapter 1 Criminal Heroes
1. America's Criminal Obsession 22
2. Crime and the Media: Myths and Reality 30
3. Outlaw Heroes 38
4. Robin Hood: Legend and Reality 46
5. D.B. Cooper: Folk Hero Hijacker 49
Chapter 2 Gangsters
1. The Gangster as Tragic Hero 54
2. Criminal Hero Worship 61
3. Why We Love the Mafia in the Movies 65
4. The Mafia Mystique Perpetuates Italian American Stereotypes 71
5. The Misconceptions About Legendary Gangsters 78
Chapter 3 Killers
1. The Popularity of Serial Killers 82
2. The Appeal of Serial-Killer Films 90
3. A Fascination with Violence Propels the Interest in Serial Killers 99
4. The Brilliant Serial Murderer as Popular Myth 106
5. Copycats: Serial Killers Inspired by Film 111
6. Serial-Killer Art Has Become a Cultural Fad 117
Chapter 4 Real Crime Portrayals in the Media
1. The Origins of "Reality" Crime Television 124
2. Crime Television Distorts Reality 131
3. The Media Influence the Public's Attitude Toward the Prison System 137
4. The News Media Exploit the Criminal Justice System for Profit 147
For Further Research 151
Index 155
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