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Loneliness and Belonging: A Reflection on the Meanings and Values of Social Networks in the Wake of the Virginia Tech Shootings
Gervich, Curt D.
Article from Journal - e-Journal
Traumatology vol. 14 no. 1 (Mar. 2008)
terror management theory
This reflection draws on the author’s personal and professional interest in social networks, social capital, and community to explore the implications of losing significant members of one’s social network to catastrophic events such as the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech (VT) shootings. Social theorists posit that the strength of weak ties comes from the opportunities that they present. Weak ties offer opportunities to meet others, expand networks, and become more embedded in our communities. Therefore, for the author, the events of 4/16 represent not only the loss of a friend but also a loss of opportunity. The VT shootings have pushed him to consider whether personal relationships and social networks can be objectified to the point that they may be managed. On a second analytical level, the shootings have pushed him to ask how local governments may incorporate social networks, community, and social capital into emergency planning and recovery efforts.
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