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Dangerous Discourses

Feminism, Gun Violence, and Civic Life

Edited By 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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Catherine R. Squires

The idea for this volume started with a panel on feminist media research on gun violence in the fall of 2013. The panel was conceived in part to respond to the troubling discourses around mass shootings and gun control laws. Many citizens were stunned that so many shootings—even those that killed “ideal victims” like schoolchildren—had not resulted in significant changes to gun legislation. It is shocking to think that since that time, tens of thousands of Americans died in gun violence, over 500 mass shootings have occurred, and more than 7,500 people were shot by police officers.1 Even as individual shooting homicides have dropped, suicides by guns continue to kill more Americans than crime: in 2014 alone, over 20,000 people used guns to commit suicide. As of my latest revision and update of the statistics, in January 2016, we are on pace for another deadly year, with a rash of mass shootings and standoffs cropping up around the country, while gun violence that is deemed less “newsworthy”—suicides, domestic partner murders, and accidental shootings–steal lives with little media attention. Instead of reacting to the evidence that our country has too many guns with too little regulation (the US has 5% of the world’s population but accounts for 30%–35% of civilian gun ownership and has the highest gun homicide rate of any developed nation), many state legislators have fallen over themselves to enact more aggres ← xv | xvi → sive...

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