Media and control of violence: Communication in school shootings

Glenn W. Muschert, Massimo Ragnedda

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    22 Scopus citations


    This chapter examines school shootings to explore the role that communication processes play in the dynamics related to the control of violence. We argue that much of what we observe in regard to school shootings is a mass-media phenomenon. Many such acts of violence carry expressive, communicative connotations, and thus school shootings should be understood as discursive processes. We present a model for this understanding, specifying the participants (i.e., shooters, mass media, and the public) and the directionality of communication that dominate the discourse. In particular we explore the performative script behind many school shootings and the mass media's role in the emergence of rampages as a social problem, with an examination of how this fits into the natural-history approach to social problems. The discussion concludes with an assessment of whether the shooters' performative script is acknowledged in policy responses to school violence.

    Original languageBritish English
    Title of host publicationControl of Violence
    Subtitle of host publicationHistorical and International Perspectives on Violence in Modern Societies
    PublisherSpringer New York
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Print)9781441903822
    StatePublished - 2011


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