Login | Register

I Kill, Therefore I Am: The Expressive/Transformative Process of Violence


I Kill, Therefore I Am: The Expressive/Transformative Process of Violence

Mellor, Lee (2018) I Kill, Therefore I Am: The Expressive/Transformative Process of Violence. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

[thumbnail of Mellor_PhD_S2019.pdf]
Text (application/pdf)
Mellor_PhD_S2019.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Spectrum Terms of Access.


Before the late-Industrial age, a minority of murderers posed their victims’ corpses to convey a message. With the rise of mass media, such offenders also began sending verbal communications to journalists and the authorities. Unsurprisingly, the 21st century has seen alienated killers promote their violent actions and homicidal identities through online communications: from VLOGs to manifestos, even videos depicting murder and corpse mutilation. Though the decentralization of media has provided an easily-accessible platform for violent offenders, such communications also afford law enforcement the opportunity to better understand the make-up of such criminals. To this end, qualitative research was conducted on a sample of 10 such offenders. The results revealed that they suffer from a chronically volatile self-concept with resulting negative-emotionality owing to deficient childhood socialization and strains related to sexuality, gender, and vocation. As the psychologist, Higgins, and sociologist, Mead, have shown that our self-concept arises and is negotiated through communication, these homicidal expressions provide the killer with a tenable identity, temporarily or permanently eliminating their emotional turmoil. Far from mere attention-seeking, these killers are desperately striving for a self. Their malaise is exacerbated by our increasingly anomic and isolating society—the mid-stages of Baudrillard's 'hyperreality'—where the 'real' and 'unreal' are becoming indistinguishable. Together, these observations form the bedrock of the expressive/transformative process of violence (ETV). By highlighting the link between semiotics and psychology in the context of our media-saturated society, ETV provides a methodology for interpreting homicidal communications, allowing law enforcement and mental health professionals to strengthen criminal profiles, link crimes, aid in pre- and post-homicidal risk assessment, and devise clinical treatment strategies.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Individualized Program
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Mellor, Lee
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Individualized Program
Date:July 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Laurence, Jean-Roch
Keywords:homicide, murder, serial killers, serial murder, mass murder, spree killers, spree murder, rampage killers, rampage murder, identity, posing, mutilation, signature, semiotics, symbolic interactionism, self-discrepancy theory, offender profiling, criminal profiling, risk assessment, forensic semiotics, criminal psychology, abnormal psychology, social psychology, sociology, criminology, self, forensic linguistics, communication
ID Code:984899
Deposited By: LEE MELLOR
Deposited On:10 Jun 2019 14:51
Last Modified:10 Jun 2019 14:51
Related URLs:
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
- Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
Back to top Back to top