Criminology Goes to the Movies: Crime Theory and Popular Culture

Criminology Goes to the Movies: Crime Theory and Popular Culture

by Nicole Rafter, Michelle Brown


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Criminology Goes to the Movies: Crime Theory and Popular Culture by Nicole Rafter, Michelle Brown

From a look at classics like Psycho and Double Indemnity to recent films like Traffic and Thelma & Louise, Nicole Rafter and Michelle Brown show that criminological theory is produced not only in the academy, through scholarly research, but also in popular culture, through film. Criminology Goes to the Movies connects with ways in which students are already thinking criminologically through engagements with popular culture, encouraging them to use the everyday world as a vehicle for theorizing and understanding both crime and perceptions of criminality. The first work to bring a systematic and sophisticated criminological perspective to bear on crime films, Rafter and Brown’s book provides a fresh way of looking at cinema, using the concepts and analytical tools of criminology to uncover previously unnoticed meanings in film, ultimately making the study of criminological theory more engaging and effective for students while simultaneously demonstrating how theories of crime circulate in our mass-mediated worlds. The result is an illuminating new way of seeing movies and a delightful way of learning about criminology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814776520
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 09/01/2011
Pages: 236
Sales rank: 766,560
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Nicole Rafter is Professor and Senior Research Fellow in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University and author of many books, including The Criminal Brain: Understanding Biological Theories of Crime.

Michelle Brown is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee and Fellow at the Indiana University Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions and author of The Culture of Punishment: Prison, Society, and Spectacle.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Note on Use of Dates xi

1 Introduction: Taking Criminology to the Movies 1

2 "For Money and a Woman": Rational Choice Theories and Double Indemnity 14

3 "He's Alive!": Biological Theories and Frankenstein 28

4 "Blood, Mother, Blood!": Psychological Theories and Psycho 47

5 "You Talking to Me?": Social Disorganization Theories and Taxi Driver 67

6 "You're Giving Me a Nervous Breakdown": Strain Theories and Traffic 83

7 Getting the Drift: Social Learning Theories and Mystic River 101

8 "Pornography in Foot-High Stacks": Labeling Theory and Capturing the Friedmans 119

9 Fight the Power: Conflict Theories and Do the Right Thing 138

10 "Let Her Go": Feminist Criminology and Thelma & Louise 153

11 A Matter of Time: Life-Course Theories and City of God 167

12 Conclusion: The Big Picture 184

Appendix of Films 187

Notes 191

Bibliography 205

Index 221

About the Authors 227

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Authors Nicole Rafter and Michelle Brown have come up with an effective way of keying theory to film...[they] have managed to present a coherent summary of the most important theories that seek to explain crime, and to do it in a readable (sometimes even amusing) way."-Ben Pesta,California Lawyer


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