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Inside the NRA – Narrative, Culture and the American Gun Debate

September 24, 2019 at 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

Location:A602 Loeb Building

Noah Schwartz,  PhD candidate in Political Science

Drawing on a summer of embedded fieldwork with the NRA, Noah Schwartz will discuss how the organization has been so successful at influencing firearms policy in the United States. Looking beyond the organization’s direct lobbying, Noah’s presentation will explore the ways in which the NRA builds and mobilizes the second-amendment community to achieve its policy goals, and the role that narratives about American history and collective memory play in this process.

Noah Schwartz, BA (Carleton), MSc (Durham) is a PhD candidate in Political Science specializing in Public Policy and Administration. Noah spent most of the past summer in Northern Virginia, studying the National Rifle Association (NRA). His research looks at the politics of memory and the use of narrative in the American gun debate. His doctoral research project, supervised by Mira Sucharov, employs ethnographic methods to study community building and the mobilization of narratives about America’s past by the gun-rights movement. This included conducting participant observation at NRA events, like their annual meeting in Indianapolis, taking NRA Firearms Safety Courses, analyzing the NRA museum, going to the shooting range with participants and conducting semi-structured interviews.