Gunslinging justice

The American culture of gun violence in Westerns and the law

Author: Justin A. Joyce

Gunslinging justice explores American Westerns in a variety of media alongside the historical development of the American legal system to argue that Western shootouts are less overtly ‘anti-law’ than has been previously assumed. While the genre’s climactic shootouts may look like a putatively masculine opposition to the codified and mediated American legal system, this gun violence is actually enshrined in the development of American laws regulating self-defense and gun possession. The climactic gun violence and stylized revenge drama of seminal Western texts then, seeks not to oppose ‘the law,’ but rather to expand its scope. The book’s interdisciplinary approach, which seeks to historicize and contextualize the iconographic tropes of the genre and its associated discourses across varied cultural and social forms, breaks from psychoanalytic perspectives which have long dominated studies of film and legal discourse and occluded historical contingencies integral to the work cultural forms do in the world. From nineteenth-century texts like Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and Reconstruction-era dime novels, through early twentieth-century works like The Virginian, to classic Westerns and more recent films like Unforgiven (1992), this book looks to the intersections between American law and various media that have enabled a cultural, social, and political acceptance of defensive gun violence that is still with us today.

Abstract only
Log-in for full text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Institutions can purchase access to individual titles; please contact manchesterhive@manchester.ac.uk for pricing options.

ACCESS TOKENS

If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

 

‘The book is a product of unique academic expertise and a model of interdisciplinary scholarship. Joyce places fundamental works of the Western genre in illuminating new frameworks. Gunslinging Justice is a major contribution to the ongoing debate about the Western as a manifestation of American gun culture.'
Western American Literature
January 2020

‘That Gunslinging Justice invites polemical responses ultimately attests to the relevance and strength of the author’s argument. The book is a product of unique academic expertise and a model of interdisciplinary scholarship. Joyce places fundamental works of the Western genre in illuminating new frameworks. Gunslinging Justice is a major contribution to the ongoing debate about the Western as a manifestation of American gun culture.
Western American Literature
February 2020

    • Full book PDF download (with hyperlinks)
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1332 288 10
Full Text Views 962 190 3
PDF Downloads 459 171 10