Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Criminology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Lauren Eisler

Advisor Role

Supervisor

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew Welsh

Advisor Role

Second Reader

Abstract

The following thesis focuses on media depictions of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women, a list that carries upwards of 1,200 names. The news coverage of these stories is reminiscent of television crime dramas in their depictions of minority victims of crime, specifically in regard to victim blaming. In order to examine this relationship, the present study compares coverage of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canadian news articles to depictions of victims, particularly minority female victims, within crime procedural television shows. An ethnographic content analysis (ECA) was conducted in order to parse out common themes between news articles featuring missing and murdered Indigenous women (N = 50) and television crime drama episodes (N = 65) from Law & Order: SVU (N = 37), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (N = 17), and Criminal Minds (N = 13). The overarching message portrayed within these forms of media is the importance of conforming to social mores. Both forms of media act as morality plays depicting the harm that will come to women if they transgress society’s definition of ‘appropriate’ behaviour. These morality plays are aimed at white women in order to protect their virtue and stifle female sexual agency. These morality plays act as a way to enforce and engrain hegemony within society.

Convocation Year

2016

Convocation Season

Fall