2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

Un-Sherlocking the Appeal of a Detective and His Boswell:

A Series of Deductions on Evolving Cultural Values


Kymberly R. Maine
Dr. Amber Johnson, Faculty Mentor

Sherlock Holmes has been a pop culture icon since his introduction. His popularity thrives upon his malleability to merge with the values of the current culture. This content-analysis examines a sample of adaptations of Sherlock Holmes stories taken from within the Canonical original works (1887 to 1927), the Basil Rathbone movies (1939 to 1946), the BBC Granada series (1984 to 1994), and the BBC Sherlock series (2010 to 2014) to examine whether the representation of the stories can accurately reflect changing cultural values. The data set (n=22), traced eight stories across the four time periods, with some versions containing a combination of multiple stories. Frequencies of violence, sexuality, race, economic class, gender, and drugs/alcohol were recorded. Data revealed that time period played a significant role in the rising percentage of minority characters (P= .002), acts of violence (P= .001), middle class characters (P= .017) and decrease in crime convictions.

Keywords: Sherlock Holmes, content analysis, film

Topic(s):Anthropology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 411-3
Location: VH 1320
Time: 3:00

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