Detecting the Social

Order and Disorder in Post-1970s Detective Fiction

Authors: Evans, Mary, Moore, Sarah, Johnstone, Hazel

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  • Offers up an innovative sociological approach to literature and signals an intervention in the sociology of culture.
  • Covers a wider range of disciplines, including (but not limited to) sociology, criminology,  literature, media and cultural studies
  • Written by internationally renowned scholars
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-94520-0
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Softcover $27.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-94519-4
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book analyses the ways in which twenty-first century detective fiction provides an understanding of the increasingly complex and often baffling contemporary world — and what sociology, as a discipline, can learn from it.

Conventional sociological accounts of fiction generally comprehend its value in terms of the ways in which it can illustrate, enlarge or help to articulate a particular social theory. Evans, Moore, and Johnstone suggest a different approach, and demonstrate that by taking a group of detective novels, we can unveil so far unidentified, but crucial, theoretical ideas about what it means to be an individual in the twenty-first century. 

More specifically, the authors argue that detective fiction of the last forty years illuminates the effects of urban isolation and separation, the invisibility of institutional power, financial insecurity, and the failure of public authorities to protect people. In doing so, this body of fiction traces out the fault-lines in our social arrangements, rehearses our collective fears, and captures a mood of restless disquiet. By engaging with detective stories in this way, the book revisits ideas about the promise and purpose of sociology.​


About the authors

Mary Evans is Leverhulme Emeritus Professor, Department of Gender Studies, London School of Economics, UK. 
Sarah Moore is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences, University of Bath, UK. 
Hazel Johnstone is Departmental Manager, Department of Gender Studies, London School of Economics, and Managing Editor, European Journal of Women's Studies, UK.

Reviews

“A joy to come across this brilliant examination of why contemporary crime fiction has become such a powerful, pertinent and unsettling cultural form. While many conventional literary critics remain baffled - or alarmed - by the genre’s popularity, Evans, Moore and Johnstone reveal how crime fiction increasingly places itself in the space between the real and the fictional, engaging with our sense of collective unease at the shifting power relationships of our era.” (William Shaw, Journalist and Author, UK)

“This fascinating study reveals the numerous ways in which contemporary detective fiction is both a reflection and an analysis of the relationship between the individual and society in 21st century capitalism. Material insecurity, corrupt institutions, new technology, big data, new forms of the self all play a part in post 1970s novels. Read this insightful book and you will never again dismiss Scandi noir and its UK equivalent as merely genre fiction.” (Linda McDowell, Professor Emerita of Human Geography, University of Oxford, UK)

“Detecting the Social: Order and Disorder in Post-1970s Detective Fiction offers a beguiling and significant proposition: that detective fiction is a form of quiet radical social intervention.  Focusing on post-1970s Anglophone detective fiction, this valuable book reveals how the genre of detective fiction – often categorized as socially and politically conservative – interrogates cultural norms of social order, moral virtue, and narrative certainty. Evans, Moore and Johnstone reveal that, in detective fiction, nothing is certain, and nothing is forever.  The implications of this reach far beyond the parameters of the genre itself: this book makes an imperative contribution to detective fiction studies, but also to how critics have thought, and continue to think, about genre more generally – and how we think about ourselves.  Murder is here revealed to be, indeed, a fine art.” (Stacy Gillis, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Newcastle University, UK)

 

 

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-94520-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $27.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-94519-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Detecting the Social
Book Subtitle
Order and Disorder in Post-1970s Detective Fiction
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-94520-0
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-94520-0
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-94519-4
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VII, 196
Topics