Monsters in the media: portrayal of the psychopathic serial killer

Jeffery, Danielle (2008) Monsters in the media: portrayal of the psychopathic serial killer. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This study aims to investigate the way in which the media represent the phenomenon of the serial killer who is suffering from psychopathic disorder. It reviews what constitutes a person suffering from psychopathy, giving an understanding and definition of the personality disorder. It then gives an insight into the language which is used by various media texts in order to create this 'monstrous' image of the psychopathic serial killer. It goes into great detail and explanations of gothic terminology being used to portray the serial killer as a person far removed from the rest of society. This make it much easier for the public to deal with and understand a serial killer because people find it difficult to grasp how a 'normal' person would have to ability to commit the acts which serial killers do. The study contains five case studies of notorious American and British serial killers identifying similarities and differences between the way they are represented in a variety of media models, true crime books, films, and also newspaper articles. These serial killers are Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Dennis Nilsen, Peter Sutcliffe and Levi Bellfield. This study has found that for the majority of the time, psychopathic serial killers are negatively represented within media texts, although some do attempt to give an understanding as to why the killer has behaved in the ways they did. Whether it is by the British or American public, they are represented as evil, monstrous creatures, thus influencing the public to agree with these statements. Considering that psychopathic serial killers are not delusional people, and they are aware that what they are doing is wrong but they do not feel remorse or guilt for their actions, it is clear that these representations can be regarded as correct.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14

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