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Dangerous Discourses

Feminism, Gun Violence, and Civic Life

Catherine R. Squires

Dangerous Discourses brings together new work by feminist scholars who provide a multifaceted view of the ways contemporary media discourses inscribe particular understandings of gendered social identities, gun violence, and public policy.
The chapters examine multiple media locations where discourses about guns and violence against women proliferate, including social media, mainstream news, National Rifle Association-sponsored magazines, gun research, public policy debates, popular magazines, and television drama. 
Utilizing theory and empirical research, this book helps us see more clearly how gender, sexuality, and other intersecting identities must be included in analysis of media discourses of guns and gendered violence.  The authors discuss the role of patriarchal ideologies, and center feminist thought and concerns in order to get beyond the one-liners, sound bites, and truisms about bad guys, the Second Amendment, mental health, and personal freedom that currently dominate public debates about guns and violence. 
With its unique views on the ways gun violence and gender inflect each other in the United States, this book is designed for courses in media studies, women’s studies, and sociology.
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Foreword

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At the outset of this imperative collection, bearing witness to the suffering wrought by gun violence is essential. The devastation and loss of human life should always compel the consideration of emotionality—unrelenting heartache, boundless grief, unspeakable pain, and intense fury. At the forefront of our national debates on firearms ranging from Constitutional rights to conceal and carry to gun-free zones to safety versus endangerment, the emotionality of mass shootings in particular often takes center stage, miscommunicating to the general public that mass shootings are an epidemic. With our cultural sensemaking hastened by mediated frenzy, these catastrophic incidents catalyze fear, rouse panic, and galvanize pleas for action. Recently, campaigns against gun violence have swelled with victims, survivors, and their loved ones bellowing calls for justice and change in the aftermath of incidents such as the: 2011 Tucson, Arizona shooting at a grocery store; 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting at a movie theatre; 2012 Newtown, Connecticut shooting at an elementary school and the shooter’s residence; and 2013 Washington, DC shooting at a Navy Yard. These impassioned calls are absolutely key from a feminist perspective—individual and collective voices indeed matter—yet their symbolic association with the tragic spectacle of mass shootings masks the everydayness of gun violence. ← ix | x →

Extracted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention injury reports, the accidental and deliberate enactment of gun violence in the United States claims approximately 86 lives per day in addition to over 300 daily shootings. Therefore, to our...

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