Shame, Stigma and Identification in “Shut Up and Dance”

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Crime and justice have long been enduring subjects of Black Mirror. From the opening episode, the series has never shied away from tackling taboo subjects. However, “Shut Up and Dance” draws viewers into a deeper engagement with the moral issues of criminality by encouraging audiences to empathise with a character who, in the episodes denouement, is revealed to be a paedophile. Given that, in western culture, the term paedophilia carries with it immense ideological freight (Kohm and Greenhill, 2011: 195), this revelation forces the viewer to revaluate their own affective and intellectual responses to, and judgments of, the central character. By aligning the viewer with Kenny (Alex Lawther), this episode ridicules the very possibility of passing moral judgement and the viewers own sympathy for him may itself serve a larger purpose. In this chapter, I will consider how connecting audiences to such characters at an emotional level may critique deeply held and widely circulated popular ideas about the crime and justice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThrough the Black Mirror
    Subtitle of host publicationDeconstructing the Side Effects of the Digital Age
    EditorsStuart Joy, Terence McSweeney
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-19458-1
    ISBN (Print)978-3-030-19457-4
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2019


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