Author(s) Tonso, Karen L.
Year 2009
Title Violent Masculinities as Tropes for School Shooters: The Montréal Massacre, the Columbine Attack, and Rethinking Schools
Published in American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 52, No. 9
Pages 1266–1285
DOI 10.1177/0002764209332545
Abstract Attacks at Montréal École Polytechnique and Columbine High frame a decade of school shootings and may offer insights into some other rampages. Though times, rationales, and sites of peer-group production differed at these two sites, “school shooter” encoded ways to react in situations where some young men felt unfairly subordinated in society; shooters used deadly violence to assert and reclaim the “rightful” places they felt denied. “School shooter” seemed to borrow from violent masculinities, common socioculturally produced images, or tropes, for acting, implicating not only shooters (who take up extreme versions of these tropes), but also simultaneously everyday sociocultural contexts where violent masculinities are produced, reinforced, and valorized. This article suggests the importance of context to the production of shooters and as such competes with attempts to develop remedies to school shootings grounded in de-contextualized, individualistic approaches that focus only on shooters.
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