Cruel Pessimism: Masculinity and Lone Actor Domestic Terrorism in the U.S.
Brown, Emma R.
- This project reconceives lone actor domestic terrorism in the United States as a function of violent normative masculinity. I argue that current theories overinvest in the psychological and ideological profiles of perpetrators as distinct from the nexus of violence and masculinity. Four case studies of attacks by domestic terrorists will be explored. Social failure perceived as an assault on their ... read moremasculine self-concepts coupled with the perceived redemptive potential of violence is highlighted as the common denominator motivating each attack. To ground my analysis, I draw on theories of masculinity, patriotism, and nationalism, particularly what Eric Madfis calls the “symbolic equation” of masculinity and violence, to show that violence is not simply the goal of lone actor terrorism, but also the means by which the perpetrators endeavor to assert or reclaim their masculinities. The purpose of this project is to show not how deviant, but in fact how proximate, lone actor domestic terrorists are to state and mainstream society.read less