The Oedipal Detective and the Riddling Metropolis: New Visions of Urban Catharsis in BBC’s Sherlock

Proceedings of ‏The 4th International Conference on Research in Humanities and Social Sciences

Year: 2021

DOI:

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The Oedipal Detective and the Riddling Metropolis: New Visions of Urban Catharsis in BBC’s Sherlock

Dana Vasiliu

 

ABSTRACT: 

The present paper is the result of interdisciplinary research (urban sociology and film adaptation studies) and critical reflection on identity construction and new urban setting. Building of Durkheim’s concept of anomie and Goffman’s concept of blasé outlook, the paper attempts to demonstrate that the 21st century metropolis posits similar challenges to identity as ever. Even though the new millennial Sherlock is confronted with the encodings of the digitized metropolis, the seemingly ‘computerized detective’ functions on the same rules of human agency and enters the same paradigm of hubristic behaviour as any classical hero. Sherlock’s and Watson’s cathartic release of emotional blockages compensate for the anomic, alienating effect that the metropolis has on the modern urbanite. Moreover, despite the differences in space or social and communication practices, the famous detective pair has not ceased to solve mystery and crime puzzles. They have adapted to the new reality. As this paper postulates, millennial Sherlock is still an exceptional reasoner who has calibrated his most powerful tool of deduction, his own brain, to the rapid and volatile transformations of the 21st-century informational city.

Keywords: anomie, alienation, cyberspace, New metropolis, non-places.