Reviewed by: General Anthropology Division
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Violence
Secondary Theme: Policy
This roundtable brings together researchers from diverse sub-fields in anthropology to engage with and discuss the topic of gun violence, ownership, and control. In light of recent activism and on-going public debates about the role that firearms should play in American communities, we aim to take a comparative approach. This will encompass perspectives on young people and guns, from hunting to moral panics to political activism (Deborah Durham); the links between guns, the performance of whiteness and white supremacy, and the 2nd amendment (Charles Springwood); and how efforts to prevent violence are variably supported, rejected, or adapted by firearms enthusiasts in southern California who share desires to reduce the harm that accompanies high rates of civilian gun ownership (Joe Anderson). Niklas Hultin, whose work has focused on international small arms control in West Africa, will discuss how the US gun control debate is impacted by (and impacts) international actors ranging from the UN to arms companies. Other contributors will examine the consequences of gun violence including perspectives from a sample of ER gunshot wound patients in West Central Florida (the aftermath and broad social costs of gun shot injuries--Jason Wilson, and victim's perspectives on fire arm legislation-- Roberta Baer), and patients experiences and disability identity after gun shot induced spinal cord injuries in New Orleans (Daniella Santoro). Hugh Gusterson, who has written extensively about drones, weapons, and (in)security, and Laurence Ralph, who has written about the after effects of gun violence in the US, will be discussants. Yidong Gong who has shown how the fragile public health infrastructure and booming private clinics in post-war South Sudan translate into different versions of "right to health" in the aftermath of gunshot cases will chair along with Santoro. We aim to bring together diverse research to illustrate that gun violence is a problem that reaches far beyond the materiality and function of the firearm, connecting to broader issues of socio-economic inequality, inadequate mental health services, the role that violent masculinities play in real and imagined violence, and the way in which youth movements are treated in a contemporary political climate of extreme polarisation. As such, it is a problem that demands equally diverse solutions informed by thorough research (currently obstructed by a ban on congressional funding to the CDC for firearms related studies). We also aim to contribute to the larger disciplinary conversation about how anthropology can engage with relevant public debates in a timely and useful manner.