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Durham e-Theses
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It’s All One Case: Ecological Crime Fiction and the Question of Scale

KIRSCH, ANNA,KUCERA (2024) It’s All One Case: Ecological Crime Fiction and the Question of Scale. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 23 May 2027.


This thesis builds upon the concept of an unconscious environmental imagination and explores the emergence of environmentalist themes in popular culture, specifically in the crime genre. A guiding principle underlying this thesis is the necessity of recognising genre fiction, and popular culture more broadly, as valuable material productions of collective cultural feelings and social norms. Through the application of scale-framing, this thesis argues that when taken as a collective, the genre of crime fiction has the potential to shape and create environmental messages within the popular imagination. To this end, the thesis is organised from a scalar perspective, framed by an introduction and conclusion building from the individual to the universal. Chapter 1 frames itself as a case study of eco-radical activism. Further, Chapter 1 analyses the representation of moral and ethical issues and develops on the theme of an ecological carnivalesque as an experiential mode where social norms are overturned creating an anarchic discursive space for radical activism. Chapter 2 takes a typological and materialist reading of the ethical foundations of crime fiction exploring how the crime genre emphasises the detective’s heightened capacity to interpret material and spatial signs as clues. Chapter 3 and 4 are intertwined, and each confronts environmental disasters. Chapter 3 starts with the environmental disasters that are easily traced back to human activities, while Chapter 4 focuses on disasters that are only now being viewed as connected to anthropogenic climate change, such as fires, floods, hurricanes, and disease. This thesis explores the mutable nature of the crime genre which has allowed authors to interrogate and test ecological engagements in shifting political, national, ideological, and social contexts.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 May 2024 15:14

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