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Explaining Sir Jimmy Savile




Speakers: Professor Chris Greer - City University London, Professor Eugene McLaughlin - City University London

Series: Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism research seminar series


This paper is based on our research on the ongoing multi-institutional scandal triggered by sensational media allegations in 2012 that British television icon Sir Jimmy Savile sexually abused hundreds of people over six decades in Britain's core institutions. First we examine how Savile was 'remembered', memorialised and culturally validated after his death in October 2011. Second, we consider the various, often conflicting and highly politicised 'explanations' of Savile that have emerged in response to his public retrofitting as a 'prolific predatory sex offender'. Third, we map these explanations of Savile against the scandal amplification model developed in previous work (Greer and McLaughlin, 2013). Finally, we propose an 'explaining Savile' research agenda and consider some of the methodological and normative dilemmas raised in researching the Savile scandal.


nullProfessor Chris Greer joined the Department of Sociology in 2005. He completed his MSSc (1997) and PhD (2001) at the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Queen's University Belfast, and then worked at Northumbria University until the lure of a global city brought him to London. His research and teaching interests are in the broad areas of: sociology of crime and control; sociology of media and communication; victimology; and theories of crime and justice. Professor Greer is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is Founding and current Co-editor (with Mark Hamm) of Crime Media Culture: An International Journal, which promotes a cross-disciplinary understanding of the crime, media, culture nexus. He is also on the Editorial Board of Theoretical Criminology. He is Co-Director of the interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism, the first centre in the UK to develop a broad yet focused interface between law, justice and journalism in society.

nullEugene McLaughlin is Professor of Criminology and co-director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Research. He is also a member of the Centre for Law Justice and Journalism. He completed his postgraduate criminology studies at the University of Cambridge and the University of Sheffield. Eugene has held various academic appointments including at the University of Hong Kong, the Open University and the University of Southampton. He has also been Visiting Professor at the Department of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, the Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. He is an associate editor of Crime, Media and Culture and is on the editorial board of Criminal Justice Matters. He has served on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Criminology, Critical Social Policy, the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice and was co-editor of Theoretical Criminology.

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When and where

4.00pm - 6.00pmThursday 19th February 2015

AG01 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom