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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Ecology of the Lone Wolf: A Structural Analysis of Single Actor Male Mass Violence

  • Author(s): Amos, Bryan Micheal
  • Advisor(s): Van Dyke, Nella
  • et al.

In this paper, I put forward a theory of lone wolf violence that unites white male perpetrated acts of terroristic and non-terroristic mass violence, based on demographic and teleological symmetry. My research is novel in that it interrogates proximal and movement related pressures within bounded regions where such lone wolf violence occurs, rather than analyzing individualistic factors associated with specific perpetrators. Specifically, I employ fsQCA on 16 county level cases of lone wolf violence between 2010 and 2015, analyzing how interactions of right-wing organizational presence, homogeneous white communities, perceived immigrant threat, economic power devaluation, relative deprivation, and low educational attainment relate to the articulation of such violence. I find right-wing presence and mid to upper levels of educational attainment are necessary conditions of lone wolf violence, underscoring the impact social movements can have on unaffiliated actors. Moreover, I find two configuration of communities with these necessary conditions that experience such violence 1) diverse communities with high levels of income inequality; and 2) homogenous white communities with economically stable residents. I theorize right-wing organizations within these regions frame economic ills fomenting violence. Finally, I suggest regional research such as this be used to delimit populations profiled with traditional, individualistic methods.

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