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Offender Theme Analyses in a Crime Narrative: An Applied Approach

Dutta-Flanders, Reshmi (2017) Offender Theme Analyses in a Crime Narrative: An Applied Approach. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique, . ISSN 0952-8059. E-ISSN 1572-8722. (doi:10.1007/s11196-017-9534-9) (KAR id:64565)


There is a great deal of research on the structure of narrative and its mode, and on the narrative positioning and counter positioning of the actor in legal and social contexts. In offender narratives, personal experiences are embedded for observation and analysis of particular realities that contextualize a disposition of the perpetrator being ‘an undergoer’ rather than an ‘effector’ of actions. This is evaluated in the shift from a narrated action to a speaker utterance in prospection and also in anticipation of the criminal act. Using ‘grammatical logic’, it is also possible to demonstrate how the crucial event (the crime) is not a cause, but an effect of a personal theme that encapsulates pattern of circumstances when the narrative outcome in criminal narrative becomes the product of its discursive practices. This is the ‘story of intentionality’ (my term) in crime narratives, characteristically embedded within the 1st the story of crime, the 2nd is the story of investigation [14, 20]. Using techniques from functional grammar and critical stylistics for discourse analysis, I intend to show an effective approach for the search of offender theme that underlies an act of crime. These disciplines provide the analyst with the linguistic material to analyse intersentential cohesion in a chain of semantically linked sentences (in written or spoken discourse) that explore the ways in which things are ‘made to look’ in the structure and functions of the English language. As a case study, I am using an offender narrative from Tony Parker’s book Life After Life: Interviews with Twelve Murderers (1990) showing an effective approach for the search of personal themes underlying the act of crime. Offender theme analyses are also valuable for evaluating the changing nature or development of offender characteristics pre or post crime.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s11196-017-9534-9
Uncontrolled keywords: Grammatical logic, Theme, Counterfactual inference, Hypothetical premise, Double dipping, Participant roles, Criminal intent
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Reshmi Dutta-Flanders
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 13:48 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 19:18 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Dutta-Flanders, Reshmi.

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