Cultural Expressions of Evil and Wickedness: Wrath, Sex, Crime

Cultural Expressions of Evil and Wickedness: Wrath, Sex, Crime

Cultural Expressions of Evil and Wickedness: Wrath, Sex, Crime

Cultural Expressions of Evil and Wickedness: Wrath, Sex, Crime

Synopsis

A dozen essays developed from presentations at a 2002 conference in Prague sponsored the Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness research project, scholars in a wide range of disciplines offer new perspectives on the extermination of the Cathars and Pequots; second-wave feminism and pornography's golden age; sin and redemption in the films of Abel Ferrara; and other public displays of wrath, sex, and crime. There is no index. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Excerpt

Not much escapes the net of popular culture. I've always been excited by how the seemingly banal expressions of contemporary media effortlessly flow into and impact upon those more traditional disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Not only does the popular provide a springboard for the socially, politically and psychologically complex discourses of academic life, but it acts as a forum for intellectual debate amongst the most disparate social 'tribes.' Cultural Expressions of Evil and Wickedness: Wrath, Sex, Crime, was developed with this sensibility in mind. Each chapter evolved from papers presented at the '3rd Global Conference of Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness' held in Prague, 2002. Academics and researchers working in the uk, usa, Germany, Japan and Australia present a collection of global and interdisciplinary issues that revolve around the a-temporal and all pervasive nature of evil in the West. Some chapters touch on political, social and legally condoned cruelty, while others are more directly concerned with exploring the nature of evil in contemporary art, media and literature. Each writer forces us beyond the page. Things wicked rarely leave you sitting in neutral.

Moral and ethical transgression feed, maintain and regulate audiences, so it's not surprising that the media immerses itself in expressions of evil. Debates about monkey-see-monkey-do behaviour, inspired by violent and sexual imagery, are continually recycled by moral panics looking for a way to blame technology for 'the evil that men and women do.' As various chapters demonstrate, such behaviours existed long before the availability of modern media, as did the disavowal of social, political and personal responsibility for these extreme actions. Still … evil fascinates, because it has no fixed meaning – it remains a floating signifier, difficult to pin down to a definitive signified. As that which is forbidden, it is often wrapped in a sense of the exotic, the surreal, and the extraordinary. Evil makes for gripping viewing. That old news media axiom, 'if it bleeds it leads,' also extends to the larger pool of popular culture.

The material that filters through our computers, cinema, television screens, literature and music, are often post-modern fusions of narratives and ideologies appropriated from the past. That which excites and drives us, only changes in the way it is transmitted. Because contemporary visual and aural texts are often constructed with the postmodern audience in mind, audiences are necessarily be credited with a certain 'bank' of accumulated knowledge. As cultures reinvent themselves through political and religious conflict, traces of the apparently usurped . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.