Crime fiction and moral emotions: How context lures the moral attitudes of viewers and readers

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

The article first discusses how crime fiction centrally activates moral emotions related to feelings of social trust and social conflicts. The article uses psychological theory to analyse audio-visual fiction, and it takes an evolutionary stance in relation to morality; within film studies, and especially within literary studies, the inspiration from evolutionary studies has been strong in the last decade. Humans are adapted to group living, and emotions linked to fairness have an innate basis. The article then shows how different crime stories activate different stages in Kohlberg’s functional typology of moral systems and how different stages relate to different social systems. Further, a functional description of the various moral emotions is used to characterize crime fictions. The use of moral emotions in crime fiction is exemplified in Oplev’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009), angry vigilantism in Fincher’s Se7en (1995) and moral disgust, shame, embarrassment and guilt in the Showtime TV series Dexter (2006–)
TidsskriftNordic Journal of Media Studies
Sider (fra-til)143-157
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2011


  • Det Humanistiske Fakultet - moral emotions , crime fiction, vigilantism, cognitive film theory, altruistic justice

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