Edited Collection on Corporate Crime and Conspiracy in Contemporary Television
Editors: Erin Giannini (independent scholar) and Eve Bennett (London Metropolitan University)
While unscrupulous corporate executives and the unethical behaviour of Big Business have long been staples of Hollywood cinema, the last fifteen to twenty years have seen a worldwide explosion of interest in these themes on the small screen. Perhaps reflecting a growing public awareness that it is now companies rather than governments who are the holders of true global power (an idea popularised by the likes of Naomi Klein’s international bestseller No Logo and the documentary The Corporation), a plethora of television drama series featuring corporate crime and conspiracy have appeared in recent years, produced by a range of countries from Europe, North America, Asia and beyond. The proposed volume seeks to explore this phenomenon, which, as yet, has received little critical attention. Our hope is that it will provide a jumping-off point on which future work can build.
Chapters may focus on any fiction television (including VOD) programme/s that debuted no earlier than 1995. We would especially welcome contributions dealing with programmes from countries other than the UK and USA. Some examples of these include: Blue Eyes/Blä ögon (Sweden, 2014-2015), À droite toute (France, 2008), The Code (Australia, 2014- ), Follow the Money/Bedrag (Denmark, 2016- ), Continuum (Canada, 2012-2015), Charlie Jade (South Africa/Canada, 2005), Mario (Italy, 2013-2014), Pied Piper/Piribuneun Sanai (South Korea, 2016- ) and Pokémon: The Series (Japan, 1997- ). For further examples, see the list here (please note: this is a crowd-sourced document so we can’t guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in it).
Though not prescriptive, the following list of topics may provide inspiration:
- Studies of the televisual representation of:
- Complicity and cooperation between governments and corporations
- Private military contractors and the corporatised war industry
- Corporations as the new exercisers of biopolitical control (e.g. in shows featuring bio-research firms, such as Fringe and Orphan Black)
- Corporate espionage
- Corporate lobby groups (e.g. arms, pharmaceuticals, tobacco)
- Unethical corporations in programmes primarily aimed at children (e.g. Pokémon, Captain Planet, Sesame Street)
- Corporate malfeasance and the environment
- Studies of the representation of corporate crime and conspiracy across the work of particular writers or showrunners (e.g. Joss Whedon, Rob Thomas)
- Studies of the representation of corporate crime and conspiracy across a single, long-running programme (e.g. “The Sun Makers” in classic Doctor Who; Cybus Enterprises in the reboot)
- Corporative narratives and genre
- Corporate narratives and gender
- Corporate conspiracies and dystopian or end-of-the-world narratives
- The influence of earlier conspiracy texts (e.g. Pakula’s “paranoia trilogy”) on more recent televisual examples
- Subversions or parodies of the corporate conspiracy trope
- Contrasting corporate narratives in different environments (e.g. how are these narratives portrayed or received in the UK vs. Germany, or US vs. India?)
- Extra-textual analyses of corporate conspiracy narratives (see, for example, Giannini’s “‘Charybdis Tested Well With Teens’: The Cabin in the Woods as Metafictional Critique of Corporate Media Producers and Audiences” or Bennett’s “Deconstructing the Dream Factory: Personal Fantasy and Corporate Manipulation in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse“).
Please send any questions or abstracts of 300-400 words for chapters of approximately 6000 words plus a short biography to email@example.com by the 15th of September 2016. First drafts of chapters will be due by the 15th of January 2017. We are in contact with an interested publisher and envisage a 2018 publication date.