Frustrations, urban relations and temptations: contextualising the social disorder in London

Briggs, Daniel (2012) ‘Frustrations, urban relations and temptations: contextualising the social disorder in London’, in Briggs, D. (ed.) The English riots of 2011: a summer of discontent. Hampshire: Waterside Press.

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Abstract

In August 2011, England’s cities experienced significant social disorder, resulting in violence and criminal damage. Unsurprisingly, politicians and police ascribed this unrest to the usual suspects - such as ‘gangs’, ‘problem youth’, ‘dysfunctional families’, and the ‘feral underclass’ while the media debates tended to revolve around the scale and severity of the violence, ‘innocent victims’, effective policing techniques and stiff sentencing practices. In a definitive speech, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, branded the behaviour ‘criminality, pure and simple.’ At the time, balanced or accurate explanations for what was taking place were entirely absent; in particular, how and why the disorder developed and spread so quickly. In the months since, numerous commentators have tried to make sense of what happened and this is the principle aim of this chapter. Using empirical data gathered from 20 of those who participated in the riots,1 Frustrations and the ‘trigger’: Mark Duggan’s death I seek to place the events in context by showing why people may have participated in the disorder. I focus in this instance mostly on what happened in London and borrow on theoretical insights where the narratives indicate some association. This chapter shows that what took place in August 2011 does match the political rhetoric and media representations of the unrest and suggests that the events were perhaps more complex – even in the wake of the subsequent analyses which followed. The chapter also acts as the ‘springboard’ for deeper discussion, in the chapters which follow, of the numerous social issues which were at play. I begin by discussing, what is considered to be, the ‘trigger’ event - the killing of Mark Duggan - before highlighting why people may have participated.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Citation: Briggs, D. (2012) ‘Frustrations, urban relations and temptations: contextualising the social disorder in London’ in Briggs, D. (ed.) The English riots of 2011: a summer of discontent. Hampshire: Waterside Press, in press..
Divisions: Schools > Law and Social Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Mr Stephen Grace
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2012 14:18
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2012 12:00
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1626

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