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The high-profile case as ‘fire object’: Following the Marianne Vaatstra murder case through the media

Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal, 2018, Vol.14(3), pp.347-363 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    The high-profile case as ‘fire object’: Following the Marianne Vaatstra murder case through the media
  • Author: Jong, L. ; M'charek, A.
  • Contributor: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body
  • Found In: Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal, 2018, Vol.14(3), pp.347-363 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: Fire Object ; High-Profile Case ; Murder Case ; Sts ; Trial By Media ; Journalism & Communications
  • Language: English
  • Description: In 1999 a girl named Marianne Vaatstra was found murdered in a rural area in the Netherlands. In 2012 the perpetrator was arrested. Throughout this period as well as thereafter, the Vaatstra case was never far removed from media attention and public debate. How did this murder become such a high-profile case? In this article we employ the concept of the ‘fire object’ to examine the high-profileness of the Vaatstra case. Law and Singleton’s fire metaphor helps to attend to objects as patterns of presences and absences. In the Vaatstra case it is in particular the unknown suspect that figures as a generative absence that brings to presence different versions of the case and allows them to proliferate. In this article we present four different versions of the Vaatstra case that were presented in the media and which shaped the identities of concerned actors. The unruly topology of fire objects, we argue, might well explain the high-profileness of such criminal cases.
  • Identifier: ISSN: ; ISSN: 1741-6590

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