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Sara ParetskyDetective fiction as trauma literature$
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Cynthia S. Hamilton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096952

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096952.001.0001

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Global capital and marginality

Global capital and marginality

(p.105) 4 Global capital and marginality
Sara Paretsky

Cynthia S. Hamilton

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines Paretsky’s indictment of white-collar crime and corporate capitalism. Her presentation of violence as integral to corporate capitalism gives her critique a sharp edge. This chapter looks at the unexplored references to particular incidents of corporate malfeasance and political corruption in Paretsky’s fiction, incidents that received considerable press coverage at the time Paretsky was working on her novels, such as the Banco Ambrosiano scandal in Killing Orders, the asbestosis cases involving the Johns-Manville Company (Toxic Shock), the political manoeuvrings surrounding the Presidential Towers Redevelopment Project in Chicago (Burn Marks), the rise of for-profit medicine (Bitter Medicine), the commercialisation of public services, such as the prison service (Hard Time), and the irresponsible business practices of the big-box stores (Fire Sale). An awareness of these references and resonances brings Paretsky’s political agenda into clearer focus. Such references enable the detective novel to transcend any notional support for the status quo implicit in the detective’s role in re-establishing order at the novel’s end.

Keywords:   Global capital, marginality, corporate malfeasance, political corruption, Banco Ambrosiano, Johns-Manville Company, Presidential Towers Redevelopment, for-profit medicine, big-box stores, prison service

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