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Consuming Crime: Consumption, Commodification and Consumerism in Crime Fiction, Film and Television

Date 26th to 27th June 2015

Sixth Interdisciplinary Conference of the International Crime Genre Research Network, Ireland

University of Limerick, Ireland

Keynote speakers: Prof Evelyne Keitel (Technische Universität Chemnitz) and Prof Matthieu Letourneux (Université Paris Ouest)

As part of the conference, bestselling Irish crime writer Niamh O’Connor will read from and talk about her work

Crime novels, films and television series are avidly consumed by readers and viewers worldwide, and the crime genre has itself become one of the most successful commodities of modern times, expanding into multiple cultural spaces. The success of this genre of anxiety and reassurance is due, in part, to a fascination with crime and transgression, and concomitantly with justice and security. From its inception the genre has had clear links to the sensationalistic tabloid press, and accounts of true crime are still compelling today. Crime stories are a highly valued product and we seem to have an insatiable appetite for them. In our increasingly global world, we look beyond our own borders to consume accounts of other cultures, societies, people and places – the latter in particular being marketed with specific brand identities such as Nordic noir. Tourism is marketed alongside culture and history in the contemporary crime genre.
The aim of this sixth interdisciplinary conference is to explore the idea of consumption, commodification and consumerism as they feature in the crime genre.
One key element is financially motivated crime: individual crimes such as murder for personal gain - forgery of wills, securing of inheritance and property; the activities of criminal organisations – bank-heists, money laundering, drugs smuggling, people trafficking, prostitution, modern slavery; white-collar crime – fraud, bribery, misappropriation of pension funds, insider trading, Ponzi schemes.
Just as crime can be outsourced to assassins and hired killers, policing and security themselves can be outsourced to the private investigator, to private security companies – even foreign interventions become marked by the presence of private military consultants. Competing ideologies lead to different approaches to the role of the state: Is health provision a right or a commodity? What regulations apply to housing and construction? How do governments respond to economic crises?
Consumption can be motivated by greed, covetousness, desire, envy, and may reflect materialistic values in societies where labels and brands are intimately linked to the marketing of lifestyles equated with success and social standing. Consumption can also be related to an eco-critical concern with resources and sustainability. Last but not least, we must not forget that food and drink are also consumed, from Pepe Carvalho’s Catalan recipes to Hannibal’s elegant cannibalism.

Conference Programme

For more information, see the conference website at http://icgrg.webplus.net or contact the conference organizers Dr Marieke Krajenbrink at marieke.krajenbrink@ul.ie  or Dr Kate Quinn, NUI Galway, at kate.quinn@nuigalway.ie