Centre for European Studies
a. Crime and (failed) individual solutions: detection and punishment. The emergence of the serial killer, an urban type if there ever was one, mitigates against the idea that crime is individual and can have an individual solution (as represented, for example, by the urban detective à la Sherlock Holmes). Serial crime is a sign that crime is endemic and therefore not solvable. In both the Jack the Ripper-myth and in Se7en, the city is cast not merely as the site of the crime, but as its perpetrator.
b. Crime and (successful) systemic solutions: entrapment and surveillance. Once societies/systems have taken the step of regarding crimes not as individual but systemic, the response is no longer detection and punishment but prevention and surveillance--the pre-emption of crime before it happens, and the elimination of individuals who might become criminals in the future (Orwell's concept of Thoughtcrime). The city is cast not merely as the site of this development, but as enforcer and medium of surveillance (see the city/ country contrast in Nineteen Eighty-Four).
Nineteen Eighty-Four (feature film). Dir. Michael Radford (1984).
Elias, Norbert. The Civilizing Process. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Oxford: Blackwell, 1997 (excerpts).*
Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Allen Lane. London: Penguin Books, 1991 (excerpts).*
Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Any edition.
Seven (feature film). Dir. David Fincher (1995).
Sugden, Philip. The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. London: Constable&Robinson, 2002 (excerpts).*
Starred excerpts and feature films will be made available to students; Orwell’s novel can be purchased at Waterstones Gower Street.