Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

Travis Linnemann

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Second Advisor

Victoria E. Collins

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Third Advisor

Judah Schept

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


Stereotypes advanced by the popular media, do not necessarily have the power to directly determine an individual's ways of thinking, but do help frame and reinforce already existing cultural beliefs, particularly within the context of the seemingly innocuous narrative fictions of cable television. These narratives not only simplify complex ideas, but also can further entrench or justify harmful social relations. My contention here, is that the popular television program Justified does precisely this by normalizing police violence and the ways that the police underpin and reproduce profoundly disparate class and racialized social order. While in many ways a typical police procedural, Justified is a particularly unique and hence useful case for analysis because its setting and subject matter focuses almost wholly upon the transgressions of the mostly white, rural poor as opposed to other popular examples from the genre such as The Wire which are routinely set in so-called urban ghettos. The justified violence of police in this particular context then, offers insight into a unique cultural script depicting how largely white rural poor are swept up in a moral and spatial purge deemed altogether necessary because of their cultural and perhaps biological failings.