Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

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Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Kenneth Dowler

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Daniel Antonowicz

Advisor Role



Many of us have never been victims of a serious crime and as a result, rely on the media in its various forms to provide us with information that we can rely on as being accurate in order to learn about it. Information on white-collar crime in the media differs from more common street crime in that it receives very little attention. The lack of attention could be because these crimes are considered non-violent and victimless, are committed by those of high social stature and power and are often complex and challenging to understand. Films can play an important role in creating public awareness through depictions of occupational crime and corporate criminal events. Given the influence public perception has on societal norms, the purpose of this study was to qualitatively identify and analyze common themes in white-collar crime films to detect if and how filmmakers can shape and influence audience views and perceptions of white-collar crimes and criminals. Twenty-three drama genre films were considered for analysis. Numerically, films were split between occupational (10) and corporate crime (13). Grounded theory was used to explore common themes analyzed for their support of theoretical framework, including conflict theories, social constructionism, and labelling theory. The results were consistent with existing white-collar crime and media research. Results also indicate that misinformation and dramatic portrayals tended to manipulate the audience so that they not only supported the criminal activity but rooted for the criminal’s success. This finding is concerning as white-collar crime is serious, can have severe detrimental consequences for its victims, and should not be minimized.

Convocation Year