Investigating cinema under the magnifying glass
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.
List of Illustrations
1 Introduction: Crime, History, Science
Part I Biological Theories in the 19th Century
2 Moral Insanity and the Origins of Criminology
3 Phrenology: The Abnormal Brain
4 Criminal Anthropology: The Atavistic Brain
5 Evolutionary Theories: The Degenerate Brain
Part II Biological Theories in the 20th Century
6 Stupidity Theories: The Backward Brain
7 Constitutional Theory: Bodytypes and Criminality
8 Criminology’s Darkest Hour: Biocriminology in Nazi Germany
9 Contemporary Biocriminology
Part III Biological Theories in the 21st Century
10 A Criminology for the 21st Century
About the Author
Nicole Rafter (Author) Nicole Rafter was Professor Emeritus of Criminology at Northeastern University. Her publications include The Crime of All Crimes: Toward a Criminology of Genocide, The Criminal Brain: Understanding Biological Theories of Crime, and, with Michelle Brown, Criminology Goes to the Movies. In 2009, Rafter was awarded the Sutherland Award by the American Society of Criminology
for outstanding contributions to the discipline. Chad Posick (Author) Chad Posick is Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia Southern University. Michael Rocque (Author) Michael Rocque is Assistant Professor in the Bates Department of Sociology and the Senior Research Advisor for the Maine Department of Corrections.
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.
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