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Deckarboomen under lupp: Statistiska perspektiv på svensk kriminallitteratur 1977–2010
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature, Sociology of Literature.
2012 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)Alternative title
The Crime Boom Investigated : Statistical Perspectives on Swedish Crime Fiction, 1977–2010 (English)
Abstract [en]

This study examines the boom in Swedish crime fiction from a statistical perspective. Theoretical input and methods are derived from the fields of sociology of literature, book history, and bibliometrics. With a quantitative approach, all Swedish crime fiction published in 1977–2010 (just over 1,700 titles) are compiled to identify patterns over time. The main source for bibliographical information and delimitations is “Deckarkatalogen” (an annual bibliography published by the Swedish crime fiction magazine Jury).

Main results: Nearly 2.5 times as many first editions of crime fiction were issued in Sweden in the first decade of the 2000s, compared to the 1980s. The increase was particularly vast in the years following the turn of the millennium. All kinds of publishers have contributed to this expansion, but two types stand out: major publishers and self-publishers. The share of crime fiction written by women increased in the same period of time from between 10 and 20 percent to just over 30 percent. Furthermore, the gender balance among the bestsellers of crime fiction in the 2000s is nearly even. Crime fiction has been extremely dominant on the bestseller charts in Sweden during the 2000s, and the genre outnumbers all other fiction taken together. A few major publishing groups are publishing a growing share of the crime fiction bestsellers. Mostly newer authors are bestsellers in the 2000s, and the time from debut to commercial success is shrinking.

In the conclusion it is argued that crime fiction can be seen as the normal literature – a term coined by Franco Moretti – among bestsellers of fiction in Sweden during the first decade of the 2000s. The study gives insight into the interplay between authors, publishers, and the reading public, and helps us understand how genre, from a sociological point of view, operates on the literary market.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Avdelningen för litteratursociologi, Uppsala universitet , 2012, 1. , 224 p.
Series
Skrifter utgivna av Avdelningen för litteratursociologi vid Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen i Uppsala, ISSN 0349-1145 ; 64
Keyword [en]
Swedish crime fiction, statistics, book market, publishing, sociology of literature, book history, bibliometrics
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-184976ISBN: 978-91-88300-56-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-184976DiVA: diva2:569979
Projects
Deckare som mål eller medel?
Available from: 2012-11-15 Created: 2012-11-15 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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