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Gender, Emotion Work, and Communal Grief after the Virginia Tech Shooting
American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting (ASC) (2012)
  • Laura E. Agnich, Georgia Southern University
  • James E. Hawdon, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
In this paper we discuss the emergence of gendered responses of Virginia Tech students, faculty, staff, and local community members after the April 16, 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that resulted in 33 deaths and 25 injuries. Using data from a survey of students, faculty, staff, and community members administered almost immediately after the shooting, we find significant gender differences in behaviors related to emotion work during the immediate aftermath of the shooting. To supplement the survey data, we also conducted a content analysis of newspaper articles written about the tragedy during the 6 months following April 16th in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times, The Chicago Tribune, and a local newspaper, The Roanoke Times. We find that men were more likely to engage in public, front-stage forms of emotion work, while women were more likely to report engaging in private and communal forms of emotion work, including talking about the incident with friends, engaging in community rituals, and attending community events.
  • Gender,
  • Virginia Tech shooting,
  • Emotion work,
  • Communal grief
Publication Date
November, 2012
Chicago, IL
Citation Information
Laura E. Agnich and James E. Hawdon. "Gender, Emotion Work, and Communal Grief after the Virginia Tech Shooting" American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting (ASC) (2012)
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