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Abstract

In her paper, "Literary and Cinematic Responses to the Crime Story in Contemporary France," Deborah Streifford Reisinger examines society's relationship to violence in an era of increased media dominance. Reisinger's interdisciplinary approach integrates media, cinema, and literary studies to analyze how the crime story functions as a site of discursive struggle. Reisinger focuses on the sensational Paulin and Succo affairs that became mobile signifiers about crime, insecurity and the Other in France in the 1980s. By situating these crime stories in a larger historical and political context, she analyzes how media and politicians use the crime story as a tool for upholding dominant ideology. Yet rather than conclude that the crime story has become an absolute banality, as Jean Baudrillard has maintained, Reisinger shows how these crime stories attest to the public's renewed fascination with violence. Her examination of the artistic rewritings of these stories reveal alternative, complex readings of the fait divers that effectively subvert the media's sensationalized discourse on crime. Through an analysis of the processes of production, reception, and re-articulation that contribute to the representation of crime, Reisinger concludes that the crime story is an important place of social and political resistance for readers and artists alike in contemporary France.

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