ABSTRACT

Identifying the features of American society that make serial murder one path to social goods contributes to an understanding of American culture and how people construct lines of action according to their cultural competencies. Holmes and De Burger (1988, 44) argue that contextual features of American society “all too well serve the homicidal propensities of the serial killer.” Features such as “redundant

violence” and dehumanization, as represented in American popular culture; a cultural importance placed on individualism and competition; privilege associated with whiteness and maleness; an emphasis on thrill seeking; situational justifications and the normalization of violence; increased anonymity and depravity in urban life; and spatial mobility (Holmes and De Burger 1988; Jenkins 1994) are components of American culture and the nature of social life in American society that may increase the probability of serial murder (Holmes and De Burger 1988, 44) and Americans’ fascination with it.