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Journal Article

The Wild West Down Under: Comparing American and Australian Expressions of Gun Enthusiasm

01 Jan 2004-Journal on firearms and public policy (Second Amendment Foundation)-Vol. 16, Iss: 1
TL;DR: The results of a comparative ethnographic study of self-professed gun enthusiasts living in the San Francisco Bay area during 1997-1998 and in Sydney, Australia, during 2002-2003 are reported in this article.
Abstract: This Article reports the results of a comparative ethnographic study of self-professed gun enthusiasts living in the San Francisco Bay area during 1997-1998, and in Sydney, Australia, during 2002-2003. Data consisted of participant observation at shooting ranges and shooting competitions, and semi-structured interviews with male and female sport shooters in both geographic areas. While shooters from both the U.S. and Australia professed a pleasure in guns and shooting, and engaged in similar types of shooting sports, the gun as a symbol of American freedom and individualism does not translate “Down Under.” Whereas American shooters perceive gun ownership to be a firm part of their identities as Americans, symbolizing self-reliant individualism, Australian shooters perceive guns simply as sporting equipment. They do not overtly link guns to identity or Australian citizenship. While Australian shooters are skeptical of the efficacy of gun control measures, they are largely comfortable with the idea that guns should be tightly regulated by government. Implications for gun control in both nations are discussed.
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The coping model of protective gun ownership is proposed and it is argued that those who own their weapon for protection are using their gun symbolically as an aid to manage psychological threats that come from their belief that the world is a dangerous place and that society will not keep them safe.
Abstract: Firearms are one of the central flashpoints in American life, and yet the motivations underlying their ownership have been generally understudied by psychologists. In this article, I review work from across the social sciences to model the psychological utility that people get from gun ownership. I propose the coping model of protective gun ownership and argue that those who own their weapon for protection are using their gun symbolically as an aid to manage psychological threats-to their safety, control, and sense of belongingness-that come from their belief that the world is a dangerous place and that society will not keep them safe. I discuss the ramifications of this coping strategy and present a research agenda for exploring this framework.

37 citations


Cites background from "The Wild West Down Under: Comparing..."

  • ...When talking about the threat of crime, gun owners often talk about criminals as a sort of irredeemable other, relentless and evil, against which drastic measures must be taken (e.g., Homsher, 2001; Kohn, 2004a)....

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  • ...…gun owners may be tempted toward conspiratorial compensatory control, creating a commonly reported sense among protective gun owners that powerful others are attempting to manipulate systems in ways that will make them, the gun owners, less safe (Browder, 2006; Kohn, 2004a; Stange & Oyster, 2000)....

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  • ...Take the example of Harold, a gun owner interviewed by Abigail Kohn: Harold now perceives himself to be in a minority position, and it is an unfamiliar and uncomfortable place....

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  • ...Anthropologists wrote about gun owners attempting to use their guns to reassert their ability to act against a rapacious state (e.g., Kohn, 2004a), against lost masculinity (e.g., Stroud, 2012), or against a sexist society (the idea of “power feminism”; Browder, 2006; Stange & Oyster, 2000)....

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  • ...…mythology (both countries boast of their frontier spirit and stress individualism, egalitarianism, and radical selfreliance as opposed to counting on others for protection; Kohn, 2004b) and in terms of measurable cultural syndromes (e.g., individualism, uncertainty avoidance; Hofstede, 2010)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors look to the founding fragment analytical tradition in search of an explanation for America's unique relationship with guns, reviewing key aspects of gun control policy and gun-related culture in the USA and four other Anglo-American societies: Australia, Canada, England, and New Zealand.
Abstract: This article looks to the founding fragment analytical tradition in search of an explanation for America's unique relationship with guns, reviewing key aspects of gun control policy and gun-related culture in the USA and four other Anglo-American societies: Australia, Canada, England, and New Zealand. The discussion that follows argues that only contributors to the fragment tradition that identify considerable differentiation between the USA and Canada can plausibly explain the former's relationship with guns. Finally, the conclusion argues that it was the American Revolution's amplification of the effects of ideological fragmentation from Europe that best explains the American gun exception.

16 citations


Cites background from "The Wild West Down Under: Comparing..."

  • ...It is telling that in a study of Australian participants in the sport of cowboy action shooting it was found that the American frontier culture was co-opted for inspiration (Kohn, 2004b)....

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  • ...For instance, see Carlson (2015), Cramer (2006), Kennett and Anderson (1975), Kohn (2004a), and Winkler (2011)....

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  • ...…and carbine was rather widespread as these implements are well suited to rural pest control (Kopel, 1992).7 It is telling that in a study of Australian participants in the sport of cowboy action shooting it was found that the American frontier culture was co-opted for inspiration (Kohn, 2004b)....

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  • ...For example, Australian competitive shooters value their guns much like a baseball player values his bat and they did not take any more pleasure in the act of shooting than a baseball player would batting (Kohn, 2004b)....

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  • ...The USA also has a very robust and influential gun culture with strong political undertones (Burbick, 2006; Carlson, 2015; Kohn, 2004a)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors explore pistolization in several differing regional contexts looking for general indications about the place of "the gun" in global cultural ordering, and discuss resistance to the cultural encroachment of US-style gun culture as a dominant theme in international efforts to regulate firearms.
Abstract: Pistolization indicates the taken-for-granted cultural practice of carrying a handgun as an accoutrement of everyday life ( Edwards and Sheptycki, 2009a ). It is a socially constructed cultural practice that has links to conceptions of masculine power and, in some instances, has been constructed as a symbol of manly prosperity. Drawing inspiration from the cultural criminology approach, the paper explores pistolization in several differing regional contexts looking for general indications about the place of ‘the gun’ in global cultural ordering. Guns are strongly connected to the construction of masculinity, but gun possession and gun carrying varies dramatically across nations. The logic of pistolization is particularly well-entrenched in the USA. This paper explores the ways in which “gun culture” has been conceptualized and the ways in which it is reproduced. Finally the paper discusses “resistance” to the cultural encroachment of US-style gun culture as a dominant theme in international efforts to regulate firearms.

15 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the complex policy problem of gun control is examined across multiple national contexts to show how a problem that is perceived as being wicked in one jurisdiction can be seen as manageable in another.
Abstract: Scholars and practitioners have always been dogged by problems that are so complex that no practical solution appears to be possible. These have been referred to in the academic literature as “wicked” problems. However, it is possible that a problem’s “wickedness” depends in part on its context and on the vantage point of the observer, meaning that at least some aspects of wickedness can be thought of as being relative rather than absolute. In this article, the complex policy problem of gun control is examined across multiple national contexts to show how a problem that is perceived as being wicked in one jurisdiction can be seen as manageable in another.

15 citations


Additional excerpts

  • ...This relatively high support for gun legislation is probably due to cultural differences in the way that Australians view their relationship to firearms as compared with citizens of other countries, especially the US (Kohn 2004)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigated the motivations of target shooters and found that escapism, social interaction and self-actualization were the primary motivations for engagement in target shooting as a serious leisure pursuit.
Abstract: The current study is an attempt to better understand the motivations of consumers that engage in target shooting as a serious leisure activity. The instrument design was based on the Leisure Satisfaction Scale and the Leisure Motivation Scale. A total of 5502 usable surveys were collected utilising the Internet and a website related to gun ownership and target shooting. Exploratory in nature, results indicated that three variables in particular, Escapism, Social Interaction and Self-Actualisation, were primary motivators when it comes to engagement in target shooting as a serious leisure pursuit. These findings have important implications to the target-shooting community, and the industries that rely on these consumers to support their businesses. This study is unique in that very little previous research has investigated why target shooters engage in this activity. More detailed implications as well as ideas for future research are also included.

12 citations


Cites result from "The Wild West Down Under: Comparing..."

  • ...Similar studies conducted by Kohn (2003) and by MacCarthy (2009, 2012) confirmed that Australian shooters, for example, have some similarities with US shooters by way of motives; however, the underlying connection to lawful entitlement is entirely different, resulting in an emphasis in that country…...

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References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The "settling" of the American West has been perceived throughout the world as a series of quaint, violent, and romantic adventures as discussed by the authors. But in fact, Patricia Nelson Limerick argues, the West has a history grounded primarily in economic reality; in hardheaded questions of profit, loss, competition, and consolidation.
Abstract: The \"settling\" of the American West has been perceived throughout the world as a series of quaint, violent, and romantic adventures. But in fact, Patricia Nelson Limerick argues, the West has a history grounded primarily in economic reality; in hardheaded questions of profit, loss, competition, and consolidation. Here she interprets the stories and the characters in a new way: the trappers, traders, Indians, farmers, oilmen, cowboys, and sheriffs of the Old West \"meant business\" in more ways than one, and their descendents mean business today.

649 citations

Book
01 Jan 1987
TL;DR: The "settling" of the American West has been perceived throughout the world as a series of quaint, violent, and romantic adventures as discussed by the authors. But in fact, Patricia Nelson Limerick argues, the West has a history grounded primarily in economic reality; in hardheaded questions of profit, loss, competition, and consolidation.
Abstract: The "settling" of the American West has been perceived throughout the world as a series of quaint, violent, and romantic adventures. But in fact, Patricia Nelson Limerick argues, the West has a history grounded primarily in economic reality; in hardheaded questions of profit, loss, competition, and consolidation. Here she interprets the stories and the characters in a new way: the trappers, traders, Indians, farmers, oilmen, cowboys, and sheriffs of the Old West "meant business" in more ways than one, and their descendents mean business today.

503 citations

Book
28 Jan 2000
TL;DR: This paper revisited A Concise History of Australia to provoke readers to reconsider Australia's past and its relationship to the present, integrating new scholarship with the historical record, bringing together the long narrative of Australia's First Nations' peoples; the arrival of Europeans and the era of colonies, convicts, gold and free settlers; the foundation of a nation state; and the social, cultural, political and economic developments that created a modern Australia.
Abstract: Stuart Macintyre, one of Australia's most highly regarded historians, revisits A Concise History of Australia to provoke readers to reconsider Australia's past and its relationship to the present. Integrating new scholarship with the historical record, the fifth edition of A Concise History of Australia brings together the long narrative of Australia's First Nations' peoples; the arrival of Europeans and the era of colonies, convicts, gold and free settlers; the foundation of a nation state; and the social, cultural, political and economic developments that created a modern Australia. As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, Macintyre's Australia remains one of achievements and failures. So too the future possibilities are deeply rooted in the country's past endeavours. A Concise History of Australia is an invitation to examine this past.

208 citations

Book
01 Jan 1958

185 citations