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Title: Unites states of detection : race, ethnicity and the contemporary American crime novel.
Author: Pepper, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0001 1456 0875
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1997
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There has been much debate over the nature of relations between the different ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Some argue that the United States is a genuinely multi-cultural nation where the opportunity for universal socio-political and economic advancement still exists. Others, however, paint America as a nation fundamentally split down a black'/'white' middle, despite the recent arrival of vast numbers of immigrants from Asia and Latin America and maintain that racially-determined discrimination has irrevocably undermined its pluralist ambitions. It is my belief that neither position offers an entirely accurate portrait of the nature of relations between different ethnic and racial groups, because neither offers a suitably complex and flexible model for boundary or identity construction. Using Bakhtin's theory of 'dialogics' I argue that detective fiction can provide this kind of model because the novel is "heteroglot" and as such reflects all the voices present in society, and the detective acts as a kind of cultural mediator who moves between and thus draws together the different racial and ethnic groups. I also explore the formal and thematic characteristics of detective fiction produced by writers of African-American, Chicano, Cuban and Jewish descent in order to establish how their experiences have been different. Yet, it is not my aim to seal off the various groups in pure ethnic enclaves; rather, to assess whether and where the areas of commonality exist. To this extent, I theorize 'race' and 'ethnicity' as overlapping yet diverging categories. I argue that the ethnic detective novel acknowledges this situation and offers a model for identity construction which both recognizes the extent of racial divisions but which is also flexible enough to acknowledge that significant group interplay does also take place.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Race; Ethnicity; Crime fiction Literature Mass media Performing arts Sociology Human services