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Död och dagishämtningar: en kvantitativ analys av det tidiga 2000-talets svenska kriminallitteratur
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature, Sociology of Literature.
2017 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study investigates contemporary Swedish crime fiction through a quantitative content analysis of 116 Swedish crime fiction novels published 1998–2015 and written by the most successful authors in the genre. The study discusses killers, murder motives, victims, murder methods, and detectives and other protagonists, with the aim of identifying social patterns and recurring themes.

In general, these novels are dominated by female protagonists and put much emphasis on portrayals of the main characters in their struggle to combine work and family life. This simultaneous shift to a female perspective and a focus on everyday life stands out in comparisons to earlier Swedish crime fiction. The novels are furthermore permeated by a partial realism, where depictions of everyday life, settings and contemporary details are realistic and concrete, while depictions of killers, murder motives, murder methods and victims most often are imaginative, spectacular and sensational, and thus in most cases show few similarities with actual crimes in contemporary Sweden. Also, the selection is characterised by a dominance of normality, where main characters and innocent victims affirm “normality” (they are most often middle class, white, heterosexual Swedes without immigrant background), whereas killers and unsympathetic victims are depicted as deviants in stark contrast to normality.

The content often seems to be chosen by how well it works in relation to plot lines and genre requirements. Therefore, it is argued that both contextualising and functionalistic perspectives need to be taken into account when analysing depictions of society in contemporary crime fiction. With such a dual-vision approach, the ostensible realistic social criticism in the genre to a high extent appears to be a story about the genre.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Avd. för litteratursociologi, Uppsala universitet , 2017, 1. , 199 p.
Series
Skrifter utgivna av Avdelningen för litteratursociologi vid Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen i Uppsala, ISSN 0349-1145 ; 73
Keyword [en]
Swedish crime fiction, quantitative content analysis, sociology of literature, popular fiction, genre functions, social criticism in literature.
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331569ISBN: 978-91-982819-3-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-331569DiVA: diva2:1149302
Available from: 2017-10-15 Created: 2017-10-15 Last updated: 2017-11-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mordens marknad: Litteratursociologiska studier i det tidiga 2000-talets svenska kriminallitteratur
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mordens marknad: Litteratursociologiska studier i det tidiga 2000-talets svenska kriminallitteratur
2017 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
A Market of Murders : Sociological Literary Studies in Swedish Crime Fiction in the Early 21st Century
Abstract [en]

This dissertation deals with Swedish crime fiction and its successes on the Swedish book market in the early 2000s. The genre’s expansion, marketing and literary content is mapped and analysed in three studies that together paint a thorough picture of this literary phenomena in Swedish book trade.

In study no 1 the development of the genre in Sweden in the last 40 years is discussed from a quantitative perspective. With the base in bibliographies of Swedish crime fiction publication trends are analysed in several ways and concerning topics such as genre growth, gender balance, publishing houses, successful authorships, bestsellers and library lending. The results include: a significant genre expansion in the 2000s; a great dominance for the genre on the bestseller charts in the 2000s; and a shift in the author group, from male dominance to even gender balance.

In study no 2 the marketing of the genre is examined through an analysis of book covers, titles and other elements in the concrete packaging of just over 150 Swedish crime fiction paperbacks. With book history as an important theoretical influence book covers and other peritextual elements are understood as a significant part of the marketing of the genre, but also – and wider – as of crucial importance for how genres themselves are established, withheld and re-negotiated in the interplay between different actors in the society of literature – publishers, authors, booksellers, readers.

In study no 3 a quantitative content analysis of 116 Swedish crime novels published 1998–2015 is used to chart and discuss recurring themes and tropes within the genre. Focus is primarily directed towards what is understood as the most central parts of crime fiction: murderers and their motives; methods used in committing murder; victims of murder; and detectives and other protagonists. The results include: a distinct dominance of female protagonists; a partial realism, where depictions of everyday life in general is realistic while the murder plots are spectacular and sensational; and a dominance of normality, where main characters and innocent victims confirms normality, while killers and unsympathetic victims are depicted as deviants in stark contrast with normality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen, 2017. 53 p.
Keyword
Swedish crime fiction, sociology of literature, publishing studies, book trade, book history, popular fiction, 2000s, 21st century.
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331570 (URN)978-91-506-2661-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-12-08, Geijersalen (6-1023), Engelska Parken, Thunbergsvägen 3P, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-17 Created: 2017-10-15 Last updated: 2017-11-17

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