Cultural representations of the Moors Murderers and Yorkshire Ripper cases

Phillips, Henrietta Phillipa Anne Malion (2017). Cultural representations of the Moors Murderers and Yorkshire Ripper cases. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines written, audio-visual and musical representations of real-life British serial killers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady (the ‘Moors Murderers’) and Peter Sutcliffe (the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’), from the time of their crimes to the present day, and their proliferation beyond the cases’ immediate historical‐legal context. Through the theoretical construct ‘Northientalism’ I interrogate such representations’ replication and engagement of stereotypes and anxieties accruing to the figure of the white working-class ‘Northern’ subject in these cases, within a broader context of pre‐existing historical trajectories and generic conventions of Northern and true crime representation. Interrogating changing perceptions of the cultural functions and meanings of murderers in late--‐capitalist socio--‐cultural history, I argue that the underlying structure of true crime is the counterbalance between the exceptional and the everyday, in service of which its second crucial structuring technique – the depiction of physical detail – operates. Applying the theories of David Schmid and Lisa Downing to a new range of figures and artefacts I demonstrate ways true crime can expose and explore the unequal power relations inherent in capitalism, both constructing the figure of the criminal as – and uncoupling that figure from a mythology that renders them – falsely ontologically separate from normalised forms of violence.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater


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