Fragile masculinity: social inequalities in the narrative frame and discursive construction of a mass shooter’s autobiography/manifesto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Mass shootings, where four or more people are injured or killed, are widely constructed as a contemporary American social problem. This article uses critical discourse analysis guided by thematic analysis to examine the text written and distributed by a mass shooter in California in 2014. Analysis of the narrative frame and discursive construction shows that the author is motivated by a precarious or ‘fragile’ relationship to masculinity that involves positioning himself against both women and other minority ethnic men in a way that underscores multiple social inequalities. This work contributes to the social science of narrative by building on the connections between positioning theory and framing, which are applied to a text that contributes to debates in feminist linguistics and broader discussions of mass shootings. The findings contribute to feminist linguistics by demonstrating how a mass shooter uses language to rationalise his actions through a frame of hegemonic masculinity based on social inequalities, namely gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, and social class. Finally, this work contributes to broader discussions of mass shooters by demonstrating how this mass shooter does not construct or position himself in a way that is exceptional or extraordinary but rather hinges on a fragile form of contemporary masculinity that uses violence as a way to prove self-worth, dominance, and superiority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-303
Number of pages15
JournalContemporary Social Science
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2016

Fingerprint

social inequality
masculinity
narrative
linguistics
social problem
discourse analysis
social class
national minority
sexuality
ethnicity
social science
violence
gender
language

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Contemporary Social Science on 09/08/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/21582041.2016.1213414

Keywords

  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • feminism
  • critical discourse analysis
  • mass shootings
  • power
  • social analysis

Cite this

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title = "Fragile masculinity: social inequalities in the narrative frame and discursive construction of a mass shooter’s autobiography/manifesto",
abstract = "Mass shootings, where four or more people are injured or killed, are widely constructed as a contemporary American social problem. This article uses critical discourse analysis guided by thematic analysis to examine the text written and distributed by a mass shooter in California in 2014. Analysis of the narrative frame and discursive construction shows that the author is motivated by a precarious or ‘fragile’ relationship to masculinity that involves positioning himself against both women and other minority ethnic men in a way that underscores multiple social inequalities. This work contributes to the social science of narrative by building on the connections between positioning theory and framing, which are applied to a text that contributes to debates in feminist linguistics and broader discussions of mass shootings. The findings contribute to feminist linguistics by demonstrating how a mass shooter uses language to rationalise his actions through a frame of hegemonic masculinity based on social inequalities, namely gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, and social class. Finally, this work contributes to broader discussions of mass shooters by demonstrating how this mass shooter does not construct or position himself in a way that is exceptional or extraordinary but rather hinges on a fragile form of contemporary masculinity that uses violence as a way to prove self-worth, dominance, and superiority.",
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Fragile masculinity: social inequalities in the narrative frame and discursive construction of a mass shooter’s autobiography/manifesto. / Myketiak, Chrystie.

In: Contemporary Social Science, Vol. 11, No. 4, 09.08.2016, p. 289-303.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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