The Narrative Analysis of Moral Tales

Johannes Stehr


This article deals with how society talks about crime and its relation to "doing morality". While talking about crime, the society informs itself about social order and its inherent quality of domination. Crime is not only a theme for control-"experts", but it also appears in everyday discourse where crime stories are told and because they contain moral tales, they can also be used to solve everyday problems. It is shown that through narrative analysis of moral tales the symbolic and cultural dimensions of crime can be worked out, and how crime functions as a symbolic and a cultural resource. Presented in this text is a form of narrative analysis which connects the text and context, form and content and it attempts to interpret the text in a wider social context while combining the moral tale with the situation of storytelling. The final part of the article discusses the potential of narrative analysis for inquiring processes of reception of crime representations in the mass media.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0201183


narrative analysis; moralization; moral tales; crime talk; crime as cultural resource; reception of crime representations in the mass media


Copyright (c) 2002 Johannes Stehr

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