Serial killing is among the most baffling crimes around the world. Serial killers can be described as people who kill four or more persons in not more than 30 days, with a crucial period of cooling off (Ardila, Alfredo, and Feggy, 68-85). The serial killer may take weeks, months and even a year to cool-off. , and thus it gives a valuable point of reference. Regrettably, it restricts the investigation of these delinquencies, since it does not include most of the natural features of serial killing such as the varied impacts of the mass media on serial murderers together with the tendency to select preys from definite walks of life. The main aim of this paper is to inspect serial killers from different perspectives and its interaction with other disciplines to get an understanding into the wider social and historical settings that make up the operational requirements for such actions.
Disciplinary Contents and Diverse Perspectives
Researchers have used many diverse psychological, sociological and biological theories in their attempt to understand the nature of the serial killing. Some reasons for these criminal behaviors is a predisposition to violence together with a combination of personality, biological and environmental factors. Serial murder is an act dominated by male. Serial murder is closely tied to the broad social and historical background (Cummins, 159-178). This is apparent when these kinds of killing are taken into consideration concerning several historical variations that have taken place for the last few years, mostly associated with the increase in modernity. Therefore, although in the course of human history there have always been people who took part in serial killing, in the earlier years it was not conceivable for a person to be a serial murderer. Serial murdering is solely a contemporary thing, a creation that has been comparatively perpetuated by current societal and social situations through which criminologists can offer inner understanding by emphasizing on the comprehensive established outlines, incentives, and chance constructions under which serial murder takes place (Fridel, Emma, and James, 234).
To chart the societal construction of serial killing properly, it is important to look at it from a behavioral perspective and from a modern construct perspective (Wiest, 356). Serial murder is not a fresh act that has sprout in similar with the contemporary world, and it is a widespread act that can be drawn through history. It is as old as the human species. Although the practice of serial murder has appeared to be historically reserved for those with some higher power, our view towards this practice is new currently. Serial killing is an embodiment of the central stressors of their time. With the birth of the modern era, a culture of violence has grown, which is mostly built on the moral and sensual attraction to evil. So, if the serial killers are a byproduct of their time periods because of the central stressors, then they only a revelation of the fundamental issues within our culture (Cummins, 23).
When serial killing is examined concerning the individual biography of the murderers, and as a phenomenon, it requires to be examined concerning the broader social and historical setting. Serial murders are patterned in own self-image of modernity. Modernity as a concept means the social alterations that have taken effect in the world, the one that has led to new experiences due to the interventions of the actors who constructed it. These social changes come from the movement of societies, shifting the collective, family-based communities into a larger urban community where there is a change of social relations. Due to alteration of the functioning of the society, a society of strangers has been created where no one knows there immediate neighbors due to lack of a social element in the larger city centers. Due to this broad historical changes linked with modernity, it has led to a modernizing process on the crime of serial killers together with how they have come to be viewed by the society (Cummins, 89-114).
As a historical construct, serial killing is not new but with the rise of modernity, who and how the serial murder is carried out has changed. With the societal changes explained above, the serial killer has been constructed socially by various parties who are interested in giving them more consideration by community as a societal delinquent, which has led to social retort entrenched in anxiety and also captivation (Ardila, Alfredo, and Feggy, 68-85). As a direct result, the serial has attained a lot of consideration from the mass media, resulting in their celebrification founded on their actions of notoriety, a statistic that has also been echoed in popular culture. Just like any other celebrity, positive or negative, they have all drawn their fans, which has led to the creation of fandom where serial killers at the center. Nevertheless, unlike normative fandoms, because of deviant actions carried out by serial killers and the stigma attached, their fan also adopt the stigma by mere association, which leads to a need for their fan identity to be managed through diverse strategies of identity management (Cummins, 23).
Representation of Serial Killers in Modern Media Forms
The modern media forms represent serial killers as heroes, celebrities and icons. In western values, in particular, the serial killers are the theme of the extensive reporting in broadcast and theatre media. Researchers have argued that these portrayals by mass media denote two images of a serial murderer: as a monster and as a celebrity (Cummins, 89-114). The media fosters the philosophy of celeb. In our current earthly predominant modernism, the panorama of realizing celeb has developed so necessary such that it aptitudes to free people from any helpless obscurity creating them to be known way above the regulations of attributed positions such as class and family relationships. For certain individuals, the potential of being a celeb is just tempting, while to some is an all-consuming desire, to a situation where someone who does not have any degree of fame is termed as a deep disappointment. Serial killers are not invulnerable to the pleas of celeb. Most of the scandalous American serial killers appeared to be happy about their personality rank and flourish on the consideration they got. Therefore, the serial killer’s protest to the police once said, “How many times do I have to kill before I get a name in the paper or some national attention?” (Wiest, 356).
Movies are media outlets that present serial killers as heroes. The fact that most reality television shows, start with true crime programming is a thing worth in the analysis of crime and celebrity. The complex symbiotic relationship between reality television and the process of becoming a hero is supposed to be scrutinized. Different movies have provided transgressive heroes (Fridel, Emma and James, 234). These are heroes who are perceived not to be breaking the law and cannot be convicted of any specific crime, but they are famous of killing and pushing at the boundaries of morality and transgressive acceptable social behavior. This is meant to provide constant public pleasure, but fans may adopt this by association with their hero and practice it in reality.
Heroes in movies later become icons even after their death and through articles their deeds are explained or even on the internet. Reading the stories about serial killers may trigger a person from copying these deeds. The articles and videos in the media sources explaining the iconic acts of serial killers may psychologically lead to the development of deviant behavior and eventually cause a similar effect and actions (Cummins, 159-178).
Determining whether or not there is an empirical relationship between violent and criminal acts is a complicated task since there are many factors and forces that shape the behavior of a criminal especially on a personal level. Different contexts, ranging from the daily setting, TV shows, peer groups, news media, books, individual education experience, habits hobbies, the culture, and the community, and the cultural constructions that make the culture build our thinking and behaviors. The behavior of serial killers is propagated by the relationship between static factors that cannot be changed such as personality and genetic predisposition, and the dynamic factors that are greatly shaped by the aspects of the environment and culture of the serial killer. It is not easy to single out one aspect such as mass media effects as a causative factor among a lot of risk factors and influences that lead to the conduct of a serial killer.