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Corpses, Popular Culture and Forensic Science: Public Obsession with Death

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Publication details

DateE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2015
DatePublished (current) - 2016
Issue number1
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)19-35
Early online date22/04/15
Original languageEnglish


The cadaver has been heralded as ‘pop culture’s new star’ (Foltyn, 2008 p. 154). Foltyn’s (2008) claim will be expanded in that it does not adequately consider the underlying components of the rise of the corpse in popular culture. It will be argued that forensic science portrayals in popular culture play a critical role in fuelling public obsession with death and cadavers. A particular focus will be taken upon the sociological concept of the gaze by drawing on Foucault’s (1973) clinical gaze and using it to explore how watching the dead is influenced through popular culture forensic work portrayals. The gaze is used to highlight how forensic science in popular culture provides a softening lens through which death and corpses are viewed and how this leads to the normalisation of consuming the dead by the public. Finally this article will propose the notion of morbid space which is argued to be part of the process in which public fascination with death, dying and corpses is experienced and normalised.

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© 2015, Taylor & Francis. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • Corpses, Popular culture, CSI, Forensic science, The gaze

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