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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

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

Adams Rachel

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226005539.003.0006

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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