A number of academic studies have sought to comparatively analyze the French riots of 2005 with those that occurred in England in 2011, yet these have been limited in their scope and depth. In this article, we set out a more comprehensive analysis of the causes and underlying meaning of these episodes of collective disorder through a systematic application of the Flashpoints Model of Public Disorder to each case. The argument identifies and considers points of overlap and tension between the various causal factors underpinning the respective riots, engaging with both the background causes (long- and short-term) and the ‘triggering’ event that prompted a latent potential for violence to become manifest as rioting. In addition to providing an analytical framework for the comparative study of these important episodes of rioting, the article constitutes a response to recent criticisms regarding the explanatory scope of the flashpoints model and demonstrates the continued relevance of the model as a robust conceptual framework within which the anatomy of collective disorder can be dissected and understood.
Causes and Commonalities
Matthew Moran and David Waddington
Bob Jeffery, Joseph Ibrahim and David Waddington
The years since the onset of global recession, circa 2008, have led to an unprecedented rise in discontent in societies around the world. Whether this be the Arab Spring of 2011 when popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes cascaded across North Africa and the Middle East, or the rise of left-wing, anti-capitalist and far-right movements in the developed 'north', ranging from the Indignados in Spain, Syriza and the Golden Dawn in Greece, Le Front National in France, student movements in Quebec, or the allegedly less articulate explosion of rage characterizing the English Riots of 2011, it is clear that Fukuyama's thesis regarding the final ascendency of liberal capitalism (and its puppet regimes in the developing world) was grossly misplaced. In Badiou's (2012) terms we are witnessing 'the rebirth of history', where all bets regarding the trajectories of local and global political economies are off.
Joseph Ibrahim, Bob Jeffery and David Waddington
While the first of these issues concentrated on the riots in England following the global financial crash of 2008, this second issue focuses on the social movements that emerged in this context. Whilst defining a social movement is conceptually problematic- either because it could be so narrow to exclude, or, to broad to include, any type of collective action, there are certain features that we can point to. Edwards (2014: 4-5) provides four conceptual distinctions.