Martial citizenship : firearms, identity, and masculinity in a public militia group
This project is a study of the ways in the participants in a public militia group organize and present positive identities in everyday talk and storytelling. This study situates their activities within a larger historical trajectory in which the contentious changes in social hierarchies and political power in the United States over the last several decades has produced a distinctly paramilitary gun culture from which the militia draws its members and the resources they use in their everyday identity work. Adopting a theoretically informed ethnographic approach to analyzing data gathered over a number of interviews and several hundred hours of field work, this study analysis the ways in which militia members valorize personal characteristics such as firearms ownership, race, sex, religious beliefs, and geographic location in creating valuable social identities. The results, here termed messianic marginality, is a shared identity they express through generic conventions that they use to position themselves as responsible people who through their personal sacrifices and efforts have cultivated skills and moral values that serve not only themselves but the wider society they believe is in decline and does not respect them.
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