Saturday, 31 January 2009

Guys & Guns Amok

What's this, 2 posts in one day again? Don't worry, it won't last long, I assure you.

Anyway, it transpires that Kellner's book has arrived a few years too late for my thesis, but it looks intriguing nonetheless and very ambitious to boot. I'm adding it to my reading list along with Left Realist Jock Young's recent tome as I suspect the respective approaches could supplement each other in a useful way. I also think it would be useful though to attempt a contrast with the "pre-modern" amok runners, familiar from anthropological study of Malay society. I can also see differences with Randall Collins' approach to violence. As I've commented about him previously, [on this blog] Collins may well be the most compelling theorist of violence. But I try to keep an open mind as much as possible.

Guys and Guns Amok: Domestic Terrorism and School Shootings from the Oklahoma City Bombing to the Virginia Tech Massacre

Ordering Contact Paradigm About Paradigm

978-1-59451-492-0 (Hardcover) $87.00 $73.95
January 2008
978-1-59451-493-7 (Paperback) $26.95 $22.91
January 2008
232 pp.
6" x 9"

More books in:
From the recent shootings at Virginia Tech University to the tragedies at Columbine and Oklahoma City, certain common traits can be traced. In Guys and Guns Amok, media and cultural critic Douglas Kellner provides a fascinating diagnostic reading of these acts of domestic terrorism. Skillfully connecting each case with male socialization and the search for identity in an American culture obsessed with guns and militarism, Kellner’s work is a sobering reflection on these tragedies and the pervasive power of media and popular culture. It sends a wake-up call to avert the next school shooting on the horizon.

See Doug Kellner's interview on Huffington Post
  • Covers Virginia Tech, Columbine, Oklahoma City, the Unabomber, and other cases of domestic terrorism.
  • Looks at U.S. gun culture and militarization as parts of the problem.
  • Examines male socialization and the status of mental health policy in the U.S., recommending changes as part of the solution.
Douglas Kellner, Professor in the Graduate School of Education, UCLA, is the author of many books, including Grand Theft 2000 (Rowman & Littlefield 2001) about the last presidential election.
"The national conversation about school shootings and other violent rampages lurches from one tragedy to the next, with little discussion of the systemic and historical forces that help to produce them. By contrast, Douglas Kellner's deep and learned analysis shows that 'individual' acts of violence are rooted in a larger crisis of masculinity that manifests itself in everything from boys killing their classmates to the ongoing pandemic of men's violence against women—not to mention escalating militarism and its effects at all levels of U.S. society."
Jackson Katz, Creator of the film Tough Guise and author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help

“Kellner has given us an unsettling but much-needed and fascinating journey through the dark side of American society, where violent episodes like those at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech have become less shocking than they once were. This superb, provocative, well-written account situates what might be viewed as isolated killing sprees within a broader understanding of the media spectacle, trends at work in popular culture, the male gun fetish, and intensified U.S. war making. This is critical social theory at its best.”
Carl Boggs, author of Imperial Delusions and coauthor of The Hollywood War Machine

“Douglas Kellner makes all of us who watched films of the Virginia Tech shootings with horror think more deeply about how complicit we might be–as creators and consumers of media coverage of school violence–in undermining democracy. Kellner entices us here to think about the anti-democratic ideas about masculinity and the gun culture we all in different ways have helped perpetuate. This is a thought-deepening book.”
Cynthia Enloe, author of Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link

“Kellner explains the wave of school shootings and mass terrorism that has become too common in the U.S. Numerous scholars and social commentators have attempted to provide a reasonable explanation for the violence. However, no one has clearly articulated a comprehensive reason for this complex phenomenon. … Recommended.”


Introduction: Media Spectacle and the "Virginia Tech Massacre"

Chapter 1: Deconstructing the Spectacle: Race, Guns, and the Culture Wars

Chapter 2: The Situation of Contemporary Youth

Chapter 3: Constructing Male Identities and the Spectacle of Terror

Chapter 4: What Is to Be Done?

Product Description

'Immersing himself in the whirling uncertainty of late modernity, confronting its odd deformities of essentialism and exclusion, Jock Young has produced a comprehensive account of contemporary trouble, anxiety, and transgression. If this is criminology-and it's surely criminology of the best sort-it is a criminology able to account not just for crime and inequality, but for the cultural and the economic, for the existential and the ontological as well. Perhaps most importantly, it is a criminology designed to discover in these intersecting social dynamics real possibilities for critique, hope, and human transformation. Jock Young's The Vertigo of Late Modernity is a work of sweeping-dare I say, dizzying-intellect and imagination.'

- Professor Jeff Ferrell, Texas Christian University, USA, and University of Kent, UK

'This is precisely what readers would expect from the author of two instant classics: a book that is bound to become the third. As is his habit, Jock Young launches a frontal attack on the 'commonsense' of social studies and its tacit assumptions - as common as they are misleading. Futility of the 'inclusion vs exclusion', 'contented vs insecure', or indeed 'normal vs deviant' oppositions in the globalised and mediatized world is exposed and the subtle yet thorough interpenetration of cultures and porosity of boundaries demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt. The newly coined analytical categories, like chaos of rewards and chaos of identity, existential vertigo, bulimic society or conservative vs liberal modes of othering are bound to become an indispensable part of social scientific vernacular - and let’s hope that they will, for the sanity and relevance of the social sciences' sake'

- Zygmunt Bauman, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Leeds

'Jock Young is one of the great figures in the history of criminology. In this book he prises open paradoxes of identity in late modernity. We experience an emphasis on individualism in an era when shallow soil forms a foundation for self-development. Young deftly analyses shifts in conditions of work and consumption and the insecurities they engender. This is a perceptive reformulation of job, family and community in late modernity'

- Professor John Braithwaite, Australian National University

The Vertigo of Late Modernity is a seminal new work by Jock Young, author of the bestselling and highly influential book, The Exclusive Society.

In his new work Young describes the sources of late modern vertigo as twofold: insecurities of status and of economic position. He explores the notion of an underclass and its detachment from the class structure. The book engages with the ways in which modern society attempts to explain deviant behaviour - whether it be crime, terrorism or riots - in terms of motivations and desires separate and distinct from those of the 'normal'. Young critiques the process of othering whether of a liberal or conservative variety, and develops a theory of 'vertigo' to characterise a late modern world filled with inequality and division. He points toward a transformative politics which tackle problems of economic injustice and build and cherish a society of genuine diversity.

This major new work engages with some of the most important issues facing society today. The Vertigo of Late Modernity is essential reading for academics and advanced students in the areas of criminology, sociology, cultural studies, anthropology and the social sciences more broadly.

Table of Contents:

Crossing the Borderline
The Disembededness of Everyday Life
The Genesis of Othering
The Attractions of Hiatus
The Vertigo of Late Modernity
Turbo-Charged Capitalism
Blurring the Binary Vision
Bulimia: Not Exclusion But Inclusion/Exclusion
Crossing the Borderline: Against the Dual City Thesis
The Functional Underclass
The Boundaries of Bulimia
The Precariousness of Inclusion
The Crime and the Narrowing of Differences
The Focus Upon the Underclass
Globalisation and the Generation of Domestic and Global Discontent
The Sociology of Vindictiveness and the Criminology of Transgression
Fear of Falling
The Change in the Focus of Reward
Towards a Criminology of Transgression
Humiliation and Rebellion
The Satisfactions of Transgression
The Humiliation of Exclusion
Edgework, Ontological Security and Utopia
From Turf War to Real War
Hip Hop Across the Borders
Chaos and the Coordinates of Order
Chaos and Identity in the Twenty First Century
The Undermining of the Meritocracy
Changes in the Perceived Class Structure
The Shift to Identity Politics
Antecedents of the Cultural Shift
The War Against the Poor
The Meta-Humiliation of Poverty
The Decline of Work and The Invisible Servant
The Declining Centrality of Work?
Getting the Poor to Work: The US Experiment
Redemption Through Labour
Including the Excluded
Welfare: From Relief to Irresponsibility
Early Morning in Harlem
The Invisible Worker
The Invisible Servant
Entering the Zone of Humiliation
Service as a Feudal Relationship
The Invisible Poor in a Classless Society
Guilt and Middle Class Solipsism
Social Inclusion and Redemption through Labour
New Labour: New Inclusionism
The Welfare State: Not the Solution but the Problem
The Will to Win
Many's a Slip Twixt Cup and Lip: New Labour's Obsessional Neurosis
The Moral Panic Over Teenage Pregnancy
Rationality and the Middle Classes
From Structure to Agency: Beyond the Weak Thesis
Social and Political Exclusion
Crossing the Border: To These Wet and Windy Shores
The Social Construction of the Immigrant
To These Wet and Windy Shores
Two Modes of Entry
Over Twenty Years Ago: The Riots of 1981
Crime and the Demonisation of the Other
The Roots of Othering
The Final Phase: The Irony of Assimilation
The Roots of the Disturbances
The Riots in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham
Postscript: The Riots in France 2005
Terrorism and Anti-Terrorism Terrorism: The Banality of Evil
Proxy Wars and the Defeat of the Soviet Union
The House of Bush and the House of Saudi
The Two Contradictions: Inside and Outside the First World
Symmetry and Differences
The Beatification of Evil
The Logic of the West
The Photographs from Abu Grahib
Love Was All They Had to Set Against Them
The London Bombing and the Banality of Evil
The Dialectics of Othering and the Problem of Evil
The Generation of Anger and the Frustration of Normality
The Othering of the Otherer
The Summoning Up of Violence
Violence and the Metaphor of War
Elsewhere: On the D Train to Manhattan
Urban Somnambulism: Elsewhere in a Brooklyn Deli
The Exclusive Community
The Organic Community
Othering in the Ardoyne: The Holy Cross School
The Fallacy of Privileging Community
Enter Virtual Reality: Elsewhere in the East End
Stars, Celebrities: Guiding Narratives for a Shifting World
The Cronus Effect and Broken Narratives
The Deterritorialisation of Community and the Rise of the Virtual
Elsewhere in an Elevator: John Jay College, October 2004
The Rise of Multi-Media and the Uninvited Guest
From Generalised Other to Generalised Elsewhere
From Community to Public Sphere
The Community in Late Modern Times
Conclusion: Roads to Elsewhere
Affirmative and Transformative Inclusion
The Politics of Redistribution
Towards a New Politics of Inclusion
The Politics of Deconstruction
Othering and Community
The Banishment of Unreason
Rationality, the New Media and the Public Sphere
The Porous Community
Hyperpluralism and the Elusive Other
Towards a Politics of Diversity

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