Masculinity, School Shooters, and the Control of Violence

  • Ralph W. Larkin


The outbreak of rampage school shootings in the United States beginning in the 1980s can be connected to contested notions of masculinity in the culture wars of the previous decades. Traditional masculinity was undermined by postwar consumer culture and by the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly women’s liberation and gay liberation. With the election of Ronald Reagan, conservative cultural and political forces attempted to resurrect an older version of masculine behavior and dominance under the guise of “family values,” while at the same time Reaganomics eroded the material basis for working men’s position in family and society. Under these pressures, hypermasculine subcultures arose that led to the persecution of alienated and nonconformist high school students, who emulated them in turn when they perpetrated school shootings as revenge for their mistreatment.


Hegemonic Masculinity Republican Party Reagan Administration School Shooting Youth Culture 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkUSA

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