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Murder Most RussianTrue Crime and Punishment in Late Imperial Russia$
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Louise McReynolds

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451454

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451454.001.0001

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True Crime and the Troubled Gendering of Modernity

True Crime and the Troubled Gendering of Modernity

Chapter:
(p.235) Chapter Eight True Crime and the Troubled Gendering of Modernity
Source:
Murder Most Russian
Author(s):

Louise McReynolds

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801451454.003.0009

This chapter focuses on the sensationalism of true crime and the effect of modernity to gendered norms in post-1905 Russia. The increasing intertextuality of true crime helped shape the evolving discourse of murder. The mass media reporting from the scene of the crime created a “pathological public sphere.” Also a natural topic for the cinema, true crime turned the courtroom into a camera-ready social theater. Meanwhile, the empire's most talked about murders raised questions about normative gendered behaviors. Modernity had ushered in new forms of social relations between sexes, and it was identified positively in the West with a rational, bourgeois masculinity capable of breaking with the past's inhibiting structures. This effect on gendered norms had political implications to the extent that it reflected first a repudiation of patriarchy, and second, it did not suggest that bourgeois liberalism provided a preferable alternative.

Keywords:   true crime, modernity, gendered norms, postrevolutionary Russia, mass media, sensationalism, gendered behaviors, masculinity, patriarchy, bourgeois liberalism

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