alexa Our Side of the Mirror: The (Re)-Construction of 1970s
ISSN: 2375-4435

Sociology and Criminology-Open Access
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Review Article

Our Side of the Mirror: The (Re)-Construction of 1970s ’ Masculinity in David Peace ’ s Red Riding

Martin King1* and Ian Cummins2

1Department of Social Work and Social Change, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

2Department of Social Work-University of Salford, UK

*Corresponding Author:
Martin King
Principal Lecturer
Department of Social Work and Social Change
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Tel: 0161-2472541
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: July 25, 2013; Accepted Date: August 27, 2013; Published Date: August 29, 2013

Citation: King M (2013) Our Side of the Mirror: The (Re)-Construction of 1970s’ Masculinity in David Peace’s Red Riding. Social Crimonol 1:104. doi: 10.4172/2375-4435.1000104

Copyright: © 2013 King M. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



David Peace and the late Gordon Burn are two British novelists who have used a mixture of fact and fiction in their works to explore the nature of fame, celebrity and the media representations of individuals caught up in events, including investigations into notorious murders. Both Peace and Burn have analysed the case of Peter Sutcliffe, who was found guilty in 1981 of the brutal murders of thirteen women in the North of England. Peace’s novels filmed as the Red Riding Trilogy are an excoriating portrayal of the failings of misogynist and corrupt police officers, which allowed Sutcliffe to escape arrest. Burn’s somebody’s Husband Somebody’ Son is a detailed factual portrait of the community where Sutcliffe spent his life. Peace’s technique combines reportage, stream of consciousness and changing points of views including the police and the victims to produce an episodic non linear narrative. The result has been termed Yorkshire noir. The overall effect is to render the paranoia and fear these crimes created against a backdrop of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Peace has termed his novels as “fictions of the facts”. This paper will examine the way that Peace uses his account of Sutcliffe’s crimes and the huge police manhunt to catch the killer to explore the society that produced the perpetrator, victims and the police. The police officers represent a form of “hegemonic masculinity” but one that is challenged by the extreme misogyny, brutality, misery and degradation that surround them. This deconstruction of the 1970s male police officer is contrasted with the enormously popular figure of Gene Hunt from the BBC TV series Life on Mars.

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