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    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Critical Sociology, ? (?), 2020, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2020 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Critical Sociology page: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/crs on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

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Breaking the Mirror of the Spectacle: Mass Murder/Suicide as the Ecstasy of Simulated Experience

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
  • O. Simpson
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/11/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Critical Sociology
Number of pages12
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date18/11/19
Original languageEnglish


This article develops a sociological understanding of the lone mass shooter and the ways in which his affectual constellation is produced within and mirrors the social space. It begins by outlining the contemporary political context of terrorism. The article then explores the affectual constellation of an isolated mass murderer, by asking the question 'what is a loser?'. Following this, it links the emergence of the radical loser to modernity through an exploration of the genealogy of nihilism. Then, taking the mass murderer Elliot Rodger as a paradigmatic case, it explores the ways in which his affectual constellation can be understood as produced within the capitalist social formation. Finally, it argues that mass murder can be understood as the ecstasy of simulated experience, its violent countertransference, constituting a zone of indistinction between the spectacle and the real, killing and being killed.