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Continental DividesRemapping the Cultures of North America$
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Rachel Adams

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226005515

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226005539.001.0001

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Continental Ops: Crossing Borders in North American Crime Narrative

Continental Ops: Crossing Borders in North American Crime Narrative

(p.189) CHAPTER FIVE Continental Ops: Crossing Borders in North American Crime Narrative
Continental Divides

Adams Rachel

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains how detective novels from Canada, the United States, and Mexico have approached the subject of cross-border crime, and what those representations tell about how North Americans view their closest neighbors. The contemporary North American detective novels from three very different cultural contexts provide a revealing example of what Fredric Jameson called an “ideology of form,” the implicit beliefs and values that reside in a work's generic structure. Genres tell documents of the institutions and values that are important to a given society. When they migrate across borders, it becomes especially apparent which values travel and which are rooted in a very particular place and time. The detective novel, which explores the commission of crime and the restoration of order, has proved to be a vital medium for North Americans to reflect on their place in an increasingly integrated continent where people and things move across national borders.

Keywords:   cross-border, North Americans, crime, detective novels, genres, national borders

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