Project Participants

Masters of crime: Scandinavian crime fiction in a media industries perspective (MAOFCR)


Scandinavian crime fiction, or ‘Nordic Noir’-mixed genre of mystery, thriller and whodun it has become a global publishing phenomenon. Books by Høeg, Adler-Olsen, Larsson and Mankell have sold millions of copies worldwide and have become the mainstay of English, German and Chinese-language bestseller lists, bringing in revenue and soft-power to Scandinavian countries (Agger& Waade 2010). Ever since their astronomical market success, the global publishing world has been in search for the ‘next Scandinavian crime king or queen’. ‘Scandinavians are the new cool of the noir genre’ resonates through global publishing circles. Why is Scandinavian crime fiction so successful? How does a local genre become a global publishing brand? The majority of existing studies explain the success through textual –structuralist, semiotic or cultural readings of the genre. In contrast, I propose a media industry study of Scandinavian crime fiction from within its Danish publishing context, whilst taking the genre seriously on its own structuralist terms. Hence, in addition to genre analysis, interviews with central agents in the publishing field and participant observation of media production in an industrial context will be conducted. The underlying assumption of my project is that market success is as much a result of industrial fiats as it is a function of genre’s plots, style and narration.Hence, I treat genres as active ingredients in (not only outcomes of) the production process. Then the question is: How does the genre influence the ways crime fiction individual and institutional producers re-produce the acclaimed genre? This project contributes to the emerging field of media industries study by introducing the genre’s structuralist dynamics into the industry-level analysis of its production. The aim of the research is to situate market success simultaneously in an industrial context (field) and a genre’s textual specificity (formal properties). For this purpose, I develop an analytical model for structuralist hermeneutics of media production.


Public (National)




Department of Intercultural Communication and Management



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