1st Edition

Nostalgia, Nationalism, and the US Militia Movement

By Amy Cooter Copyright 2024
    210 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    NPR's Andrew Limbong talks to Amy Cooter of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies about how realistic an idea of a second civil war is

    Nostalgia, Nationalism, and the US Militia Movement is an accessible primer on the contemporary US militia movement. Exploring the complicated history of militias in the United States, starting with the Revolutionary War period, this book leverages unique data from ethnographic fieldwork, in-depth interviews, and previously unseen archival materials from militia founder Norm Olson to detail the modern movement’s origin and trajectory through the attempted insurrection of January 6th and beyond.

    This book uses the lenses of nostalgia and settler colonialism to explain militia members’ actions and beliefs, including their understandings of both nationalism and masculinity. This approach situates militias in a broader political landscape and explains how and why they will continue to be relevant actors in American politics.

    A general audience will find this book approachable, and it will be of particular interest to people studying militias or other social movement organizations whose vision of an ideal nation rests on a nostalgic image of the past and potentially encourages political violence.

    1. The Modern US Militia Movement: Member’s Motivations, Beliefs and Practices
    2. Militia History in the US: Contextualizing the Modern Movement
    3. Militia Origins: The Gospel According to Norm Olson
    4. The Oklahoma City Bombing and Militia Decline: A Floundering Father
    5. Settling for Nostalgia: How Nostalgia and a Rural Mentality Shape the Militia Movement
    6. The Movement’s Trajectory: The early 2000s, the Trump Era, and Beyond
    7. Conclusion: Signals of Violence and Informed Best Practices


    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Names: Samuel, Lawrence R., author.
    Title: Home ownership in America : a socio-cultural history of housing in
    the United States / Lawrence R. Samuel.
    Description: New York, NY : Routledge, 2024. | Includes bibliographical
    references and index.
    Identifiers: LCCN 2024012795 | ISBN 9781032771434 (hardback) | ISBN
    9781032758039 (paperback) | ISBN 9781003481485 (ebook)
    Subjects: LCSH: Home ownership--United States--History. | Home
    ownership--United States--Social aspects.
    Classification: LCC HD7287.82.U6 S26 2024 | DDC
    LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2024012795

    “It is rare for scholars or journalists to have the kind of insider access to the militia movement that Amy Cooter has. Combining rich ethnographic data with historical context and sociological critique, Paper Patriots provides a rigorous   analysis of the modern militia movement that should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding new developments and historical continuities on the American right.” 
    Ruth Braunstein, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut

    “The militia and the hard right in America keep not going away. Indeed, given the global prevalence of populism, internet outlets, and patterns of democratic deconsolidation on a worldwide scale, the issues examined in this book seem likely to remain relevant well into the future. Its understanding of the origins of the militia movement, as well as the author’s access to Norm Olson’s archives, is valuable. The logic of the approach is right on target and adds to the conversation about the way(s) the militia movement operates in the United States, and, by extension, the hard right as well. I am a big fan of the promise of this book!”
    Lane Crothers, Professor of Politics, Illinois State University

    “Cooter convincingly argues that growth in the modern, unlawful militia movement is a barometer for broader political trends. With insights gleaned from both original empirical data and rich historical and theoretical framing, Nostalgia, Nationalism, and the US Militia Movement is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand contemporary threats to U.S. democracy.” 
    Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, American University & PERIL

    “Cooter’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding contemporary militia groups or domestic extremism more broadly. Her years of research – often based on direct interaction with participants in these groups – reveal the complexity, fluidity, and inconsistency in what drives those who participate in nostalgic groups. And though this book focuses on militia groups, Cooter offers important lessons for stakeholders and practitioners who are concerned about a range of different forms of domestic extremism.”
    Sam Jackson, Senior Research Fellow, CTEC @ MIIS