Jokela: The Social Roots of a School Shooting Tragedy in Finland

  • Atte Oksanen
  • Johanna Nurmi
  • Miika Vuori
  • Pekka Räsänen


An analysis of a school shooting that took place in the small town of Jokela, Finland, in 2007. The perpetrator, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, pursued a clear and sophisticated media strategy and wrote a manifesto that underlined nihilism, hate, and disillusion with society and his peers. Auvinen was a shy, lonely young man who found his peer group in internet communities that glorify school shootings. The data used included investigation reports, a two-wave survey conducted in Jokela 6 and 18 months after the shooting, and interviews with local residents and involved professionals. Our analysis reveals the social roots of the tragedy. Auvinen was bullied and felt ostracized in the small community. Both school and family failed to integrate him socially. In the local community, young people became increasingly worried about his talk and behavior, especially in the year immediately preceding the shooting. Auvinen’s parents tried without success to get psychiatric help for their son, who became increasingly radical in his thoughts and obsessed with terrorist violence. A lack of meaningful social ties magnified the effect of online communities that indirectly encouraged Auvinen to carry out his “Main Strike.” The shooting was a traumatic event for the whole community since the perpetrator had lived there most of his life. Social support and solidarity enhanced the prospects for coping.


Terrorist Attack Generalize Trust Institutional Trust Social Solidarity Severe Violence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atte Oksanen
    • 1
  • Johanna Nurmi
    • 2
  • Miika Vuori
    • 2
  • Pekka Räsänen
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Turku & Finnish Youth Research SocietyHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Social ResearchUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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