Crisis, Responsibility, Death: Sacrifice and Leadership in School Shootings

Sara Louise Muhr, Jeanette Lemmergaard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Within recent years, we have witnessed an alarming increase in so-called school-shootings, where one or more students enter their school and purposely start shooting other students or staff. Earlier, the phenomenon was primarily American, but lately school-shootings have also been seen in Canada, Europe, and Australia. School-shootings have become an increasing problem and the phenomenon calls for more thorough investigation. In this article, we analyse the actions of teachers, more specifically the ones where teachers give their lives to save students. This unselfish act is analysed in the light of Jacques Derrida’s ethical discussions around ‘the gift of death’, and is displayed as an absolute responsibility. Moreover, the sacrificial actions displayed by teachers are viewed as acts of primitive leadership, which take us back to the romanticism and heroism of leadership. Unlike the everyday management of organisations, crises call for extraordinary leadership; for sacrifice and responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy of Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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