Schools under fire? : school shootings and the construction of a cultural discourse of emergency
Contrary to popular belief, rampage violence at suburban and rural schools occurred before the infamous Columbine High School shooting in April 1999. While school shootings before Columbine gained international media attention were treated as a local rather than a national or even international problem, they are now seen as an emergent ... phenomenon that has to be addressed with appropriate urgency.In this paper, I want to examine whether school shootings are in fact increasing and address the medial construction of the discourse of emergency that has evolved around these acts of excessive violence. I argue that the public perception of school shootings is inseparably intertwined with the media dynamics in the aftermath of these incidents. In these discursive dynamics, I argue, it can be seen that these acts of vio-lence lay open society s underlying fears. School shootings, as this paper shows, are closely linked to contemporary media logic and can be understood as examples of the contemporary dynamics of cultural discourses of emergency.
Original publication in
On_culture: the open journal for the study of culture 1 (2016)