Title page for ETD etd-05092010-211539

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Hodgskiss, Brin Allan
Email bhodgskiss@yahoo.com
URN etd-05092010-211539
Document Title A narrative exposition of serial murder in South Africa
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof G Labuschagne Co-Supervisor
Prof D Beyers Supervisor
  • behavioural template
  • violent crime
  • interpersonal interaction
  • serial murder
  • imago
  • narrative psychology
  • development of offending
  • motivation for offending
  • offender profiling
  • culture and crime
Date 2010-04-22
Availability unrestricted
This study explores the phenomenon of serial murder from the perspective of narrative psychology. Using a case study approach and a grounded theory analytical process this qualitative study utilised the narrative concept of the imago to explore the motivation and development of those who commit serial murder in South Africa. The aim is increase our theoretical understanding of serial murder in directions that support offender profiling.

Semi-structured interviews with two South African men who committed serial murder were undertaken and analysed alongside archival data. Their imagoes formed the focus of the analysis. This analysis included a consideration of how the individualís motivations and developmental patterns were reflected in their crime scenes. This study demonstrated that imagoes play a significant role in the motives for offending, and development of offence behaviours, in men who commit serial murder. The imagoes help create motives; then embody these motives by encouraging and justifying certain types of behaviour in the individual. Interactions between imagoes were particularly significant in this regard. The dominant imago associated with the individualís self was also associated with the development of a behavioural template for offending, and was thus especially significant in embodying motive. The development of offending was further encouraged by the separation between imagoes involved in offending and those that are not. However differences between the case studies were also observed, such as the extent to which imagoes develop in interaction with others and the roles played by their imagoes in the developmental narrative of their offending.

These findings shed novel theoretical light on the study of serial murder in South Africa. It suggests directions for research into the role of narrative and culture in offending, and for the study of the imago as an embodied mode of interpersonal interaction. It also offers opportunities for research aiming to support offender profiling, and proposes a possible synthesis of competing conceptions of serial murder.

© 2009 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Hodgskiss, BA 2009, A narrative exposition of serial murder in South Africa, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05092010-211539/ >


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