Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Social Work


Sociology, Criminology and Penology.


Fleming, T.




The research examined the social construction of the serial murderer. The primary theoretical proposition was that the serial murderer had learned to become such a murderer and therefore is a product of society. Sociological profiles of different types of serial murderers were created. The typologies employed in the research were the frequently cited typologies of serial murderer offered by Holmes and DeBurger (1988). The main source of data for the research was all available secondary information on the convicted serial killers Clifford Olson, Arthur Shawcross and Jeffrey Dahmer. The research followed a case study methodology and format. The results of the research determined that the hedonistic, power/control and mission-oriented typologies employed in the study were too general to be mutually exclusive and definitive. The typologies could become more valuable in terms of explanation through the continuing study of the social construction of the serial killer, and the creation of more social profiles. The research concluded that the study of the social construction of the serial killer through social profiling has much practical and theoretical usefulness. A recommendation for future research was to undertake the functional analyses of the social profiles of a larger number of serial murderers to increase the validity of social profiling criteria and ultimately provide the best explanation of how society produces the serial murderer.Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1995 .C37. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 34-06, page: 2251. Adviser: Thomas O'Reilly-Fleming. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1995.