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Beyond Columbine

School Violence and the Virtual


Julie A. Webber


School violence has become our new American horror story, but it also has its roots in the way it comments on western values with respect to violence, shame, mental illness, suicide, humanity, and the virtual. Beyond Columbine: School Violence and the Virtual offers a series of readings of school shooting episodes in the United States as well as similar cases in Finland, Germany, and Norway, among others and their relatedness.

The book expands the author’s central premise from her earlier book Failure to Hold, which explores the hidden curriculum of American culture that is rooted in perceived inequality and the shame, rage, and violence that it provokes. In doing so, it goes further to explore the United States' outdated perceptual apparatus based on a reflective liberal ideology and presents a new argument about proprioception: the combined effect of a sustained lack of thought (non-cognitive) in action that is engendered by digital media and virtual culture. The present interpretation of the virtual is not limited to video games but encompasses the entire perceptual field of information sharing and media stylization (e.g., social networking, television, and branding). More specifically, American culture has immersed itself so thoroughly in a digital world that its violence and responses to violence lack reflection to the point where it confuses data with certainty. School-related violence is presented as a dramatic series of events with Columbine as its pilot episode.

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The Violence Studies series aims to publish work that explores violence in the diverse areas of human life from the bedroom to the battlefield and in its different modes of appearance from language to social and economic structures to the infliction of physical harm. This series is particularly, though not exclusively, directed toward scholars in the areas of philosophy, literature, sociology, and cultural studies. It seeks to encompass a wide range of theoretical approaches and disciplinary orientations investigating the phenomena of violence and how they are expressed and codified in literature, cultural and political practice, and in the forms of human society. It also welcomes works that explore the ways in which violence is inflicted on the non-human world of animals and the environment. We are especially interested in books exploring the intersections of violence and religion, violence in language and rhetoric, as well as studies on the issues of gender, power and ideology as they relate to questions of violence. This series welcomes both individually authored and collaboratively authored books and monographs as well as edited collections of essays and conference proceedings.

For additional information about this series or for the submission of manuscripts, please contact:

Peter Lang Publishing Acquisitions Department 29 Broadway, 18th Floor New York, New York 10006

To order other books in this series, please contact our Customer Service Department:

800-770-LANG (within the U.S.) (212) 647-7706 (outside the U.S.) (212) 647-7707 FAX

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