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Child Abductions in U.S. News Media


Spring-Serenity Duvall and Leigh Moscowitz

Few crimes provoke the collective fear, public outrage, and media fascination that child abductions do. Stories about missing children capture national headlines and dominate public discourses about crime and deviance, child safety, parenting, the American family, and gender and sexuality.
Snatched is the first book-length study to interrogate the predominant myths centered on gender and class that shaped mainstream U.S. news coverage of kidnappings in the 2000s. Through an exploration of hundreds of reports from newspapers, news magazines, television broadcasts, and web stories, Snatched critically analyzes how news narratives construct the phenomenon of child abductions, the young girls and boys who fall victim, the male perpetrators of these horrific crimes, and the adult victims of long-term abductions who were found years later. The book’s interdisciplinary nature, methodological rigor, and thorough investigation into some of the most riveting and revolting crimes of the last decade make Snatched a worthy, important, and timely contribution to the fields of media studies and girlhood studies.
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Grounded in cultural studies, books in this series will study the cultures, artifacts, and media of children, tweens, teens, and college-aged youth. Whether studying television, popular music, fashion, sports, toys, the Internet, self-publishing, leisure, clubs, school, cultures/activities, film, dance, language, tie-in merchandising, concerts, subcultures, or other forms of popular culture, books in this series go beyond the dominant paradigm of traditional scholarship on the effects of media/culture on youth. Instead, authors endeavor to understand the complex relationship between youth and popular culture. Relevant studies would include, but are not limited to studies of how youth negotiate their way through the maze of corporatelyproduced mass culture; how they themselves have become cultural producers; how youth create “safe spaces” for themselves within the broader culture; the political economy of youth culture industries; the representational politics inherent in mediated coverage and portrayals of youth; and so on. Books that provide a forum for the “voices” of the young are particularly encouraged. The source of such voices can range from indepth interviews and other ethnographic studies to textual analyses of cultural artifacts created by youth.

For further information about the series and submitting manuscripts, please contact:

SHARON R. MAZZARELLA School of Communication Studies James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA 22807

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