This book directly explores the question of why contemporary society is so fascinated with violence and crime. The Fascination with Violence in Contemporary Society posits that the phenomenon is, in part, because we have all become consumers of the sublime: an intense and strongly ambiguous emotion which is increasingly commodified. Through the experience of violence and the sense of disorientation that accompanies it, we obsessively seek out moments of intensified existence. Equally, crime continues to speak to the depths of the collective unconscious, questioning us about our transience and the model of society we wish to live in. Binik proposes that this is why the reaction to violence has become a tool with which to express and take ownership of a desire for social cohesion.
This book uses interviews with viewers, dark tourists, collectors and others to find further interrogate this social trend. Many of these are participants of four key case studies explored within the study: a true-crime TV series, the trend of dark tourism, murderabilia collecting and the fanaticism of (and for) Anders Breivik. This book seeks to answer one of the most pressing cultural trends of the modern age, and fill in a gap in the criminological literature on the subject.