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Oath Keepers

Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group

Professor Sam Jackson



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Columbia University Press
01 September 2020
Since 2008, the American patriot/militia movement?right-wing antigovernment groups who portray themselves as fighting encroaching tyranny?has grown exponentially. Oath Keepers is among the most visible and vocal of these organizations. Formed in 2009, Oath Keepers gained notoriety for its involvement in the Bundy Ranch standoff of 2014 and the Malheur Refuge occupation of 2016. The group gives voice to a recurrent form of American politics: virulent distrust of the government combined with a valorization of violence.

Sam Jackson takes readers inside the world of the most prominent antigovernment group in the United States, examining its extensive online presence to discover how it builds support for its political goals and actions. Through an extensive textual analysis of the group's publications, Jackson explores how Oath Keepers draws on core American political values and pivotal historical moments of conflict and crisis from the Revolutionary War to Waco to Hurricane Katrina to cast its adherents as defenders of liberty. He details how Oath Keepers makes sense of the contemporary United States, how it provides members with models of political behavior, and how it lobbies the wider American public to join the group. The first book-length investigation of the contemporary patriot/militia movement, Oath Keepers sheds new light on what animates groups that pose a growing threat to American security and political culture.
By:   Professor Sam Jackson
Imprint:   Columbia University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 140mm, 
ISBN:   9780231193450
ISBN 10:   0231193459
Pages:   240
Publication Date:   01 September 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sam Jackson is an assistant professor in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity at the University at Albany.

Reviews for Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group

Jackson provides the most detailed examination of Oath Keepers that we have, developing our understanding of how right-wing extremist groups rhetorically use the past to further their political interests in the present. -- D. J. Mulloy, author of <i>Enemies of the State: The Radical Right in America from FDR to Trump</i> Jackson's prescient analysis of antigovernment extremism couldn't be more timely or important. Oath Keepers is an essential contribution to our understanding of the growing appeal and violent potential of ever-evolving forms of domestic extremism. -- Cynthia Miller-Idriss, author of <i>Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right</i> Sam Jackson's Oath Keepers is a welcome addition to the sparse literature on right-wing antigovernment extremists in the United States. His concise but compelling examination of one of the major groups in the militia/patriot movement really adds to our understanding of how such groups conceptualize themselves and their cause and how their beliefs translate into action. -- Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow, Center on Extremism, Anti-Defamation League Jackson's meticulous research shines a much-needed light on Oath Keepers-a highly visible but little understood domestic extremist organization. Jackson delves into the complexities of the group's rhetoric and activities, offering important insights into how extremists frame their appeal for wider audiences. An important text on the movement for years to come. -- J. M. Berger, author of <i>Extremism</i> A groundbreaking study of how antigovernment extremism is reaching new audiences with fear-based stories that call supporters to vigilante action. Oath Keepers is a must-read for anyone concerned with this growing threat to the foundations of democratic governance. -- Kathleen Blee, author of <i>Understanding Racist Activism: Theory, Methods, and Research</i>

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