Macquarie University
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Opening old wounds: innovation in contemporary Australian crime narratives

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posted on 2022-03-29, 02:34 authored by Victoria Ryan
Opening Old Wounds: Innovation in Contemporary Crime Narratives -- This thesis examines three examples of innovation in recent Australian crime narratives that engage with prominent political and social justice issues. It focuses on how narratives are shaped and reworked as they move across media, recalibrating the relationship between the local and the global as they circulate in the broader "crime culture". The three case studies are situated within the astonishing growth and global popularity of Antipodean noir since 2016. The thesis argues that a combination of innovative storytelling techniques and engagement with social justice issues have revitalised Australian crime culture and contributed to the international enthusiasm for Antipodean noir crime narratives. The first case study explores Mystery Road, an open-ended long-form crime thriller by Indigenous filmmakers featuring Aboriginal Detective Jay Swan. Mystery Road began as a stand-alone film in 2013 and has since developed into an ongoing television series. The second case study examines Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane, a multiplatform true crime investigation by journalists who bring a feminist perspective to an old crime. Informed by the global #MeToo movement, Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane uses an open, participatory model of storytelling to recruit audiences into the investigation process, provide expertise to the core team and help reframe gender politics within the criminal justice system. The final case study examines how Jane Harper's international bestselling crime novel The Lost Man engages with worldwide discussions about domestic abuse and the criminalisation of coercive control in some countries. It explores how women's manifest civil, political and human rights in Australia have been undermined by new forms of psychological violence and intimate terrorism that have been allowed to flourish in the agribusiness sector.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 : Dispossession, apology and restitution in 'Mystery Road' (2013-2018) -- Chapter 2 : Deconstructing medea narratives in true crime : 'Exposed: the Case of Keli Lane' 2018 -- Chapter 3 : Staging wounded masculinity and domestic abuse in Jane Harper's 'The Lost Man' (2018)


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 81-95

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of English

Department, Centre or School

Department of English

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Stephanie Russo


Copyright 2020




1 online resource (95 pages)

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