Living death: imagined history and the Tarrant Manifesto

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This essay analyses the manifesto of terrorist Brenton Tarrant, the perpetrator of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. Reading Tarrant’s manifesto (The Great Replacement) as a cultural artefact of digital white nationalism, it is possible to identify a specific worldview and emotional subjectivity that is also shared with the actions and writing of Anders Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 Oslo and Utøya massacre. After examining both terrorists’ manifestos, their biographical particulars and drawing from ethnographic research into the online communities that Tarrant frequented, a shared phenomenological framework emerges. This framework is presented as ‘the imagined past and present’ of the Replacement Theory terrorist. This essay will address these white nationalist imaginings via a cultural exegesis of Tarrant’s and Breivik’s manifestos, as well as an analysis of their comparable monastic aesthetic or ‘living death’ in the lead up to their attacks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25–50
Number of pages25
JournalEmotions: History, Culture, Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • white nationalism
  • anthropology
  • digital radicalisation
  • phenomenology
  • Australia


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