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The criminal entrepreneur in David Peace’s Red Riding

King, M; Cummins, ID


M King


Purpose: David Peace’s Red Riding quartet ( 1974; 1977; 1980; 1983 ) was published in the UK between 1999 and 2002. The novels are an excoriating portrayal of the violences of men, focusing on paedophilia and child murder, the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper and, predominantly, the blurring of boundaries between the activities of police officers, criminals and entrepreneurs. This chapter aims to examine the way in which the criminal entrepreneur draws on socially constructed ideas of masculinity and the capitalist ideal in order to establish identity. This will be achieved through an examination of John Dawson, a character central to the UK Channel Four/Screen Yorkshire’s Red Riding Trilogy, the filmed version of the novels, first screened in 2009. The central role of networks of powerful men in creating space for the criminal entrepreneur and the cultural similarities between police officers and criminal entrepreneur will be explored.

Methodology/approach: Using the research approach of bricolage, the chapter provides a reflexive commentary on the films, drawing on a number of other texts and sources, including news accounts of featured events and interviews with the author David Peace and the series co-producer Jamie Nuttgens – an analysis of the texts, using a framework suggested by van Dijk (1993) and McKee (2003) features.

Findings: The centrality of the idea of hegemonic masculinity to the activities of both police officers, and criminals and businessmen and Hearn’s (2004) assertion that the cultural ideal and institutional power are inextricably linked are examined through an analysis of the role of Dawson (and his three linked characters in the novels) in the Red Riding Trilogy.

Research limitations/implications: The chapter provides an analysis of one film series but could provide a template to apply to other texts in relation to topic.

Social implications: The social implications of the findings of the research are discussed in relation to work on the impact of media representations (Dyer, 1993; Hall, 1997).

Original/value: It is intended that the chapter will add to the growing body of academic work on the criminal entrepreneur and the ways in which media representation of particular groups may impact on public perception and construction of social policy.


King, M., & Cummins, I. (2015). The criminal entrepreneur in David Peace’s Red Riding. Contemporary issues in entrepreneurship research (Print), 5, 155-177.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jun 12, 2015
Journal Exploring Criminal and Illegal Enterprise : New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice (Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, Volume 5)
Print ISSN 2040-7246
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Pages 155-177
Publisher URL
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