From Sublime to Resentment: Emotional Trajectories When Watching Crime on TV

  • Oriana Binik


This chapter is based on 15 interviews with viewers and a content analysis of 12 episodes of Quarto Grado, an Italian true-crime television show. An analysis of the two dimensions of the sublime (Chapter  2), shows that viewers feel a mix of attraction and repulsion for crime; they make contact with evil by identifying with victims, but identifying with criminals is also possible. The sublime is a social emotion: viewers usually learn how to recognise and manage this emotion from their families or from famous cold cases. The sublime is commodified via: the selection and contextualising of specific cases; the aestheticisation of violence; proximity; a mixture of reality and fiction and the uncertainty typical of cold cases. Do these emotions create social bonds? In the case of the TV show, the sublime, as a ‘bridge emotion’ shifts in the direction of a dangerous shared resentment.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oriana Binik
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly

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