This article describes the recent Sydney riots and the commentary surrounding them. The author demonstrates how, through processes of ‘analytical et nic cleansing’, ‘ethnic homogenization and specification’, and ‘blame displacement’, the Lebanese Muslim community, a target of the initial rioters, came to be victimized in commentary on the riots. While the riots may not have been particularly significant in themselves, the commentary surrounding them provides an important window onto the state of cultural politics in Australia at a specific juncture in time when multi-culturalism is simultaneously hegemonic but subject to attack from Australia’s ruling federal political regime. The author claims, moreover, that the victimization of Lebanese Muslims is indicative of a particular current process in which a discourse of multi-culturalism, engendered largely by its liberal advocates and drawing on the scholarly works of anthropologists and other social scientists, is utilized to undermine multi-culturalism as a form of social policy and organization.
Excess and Domestication
This article explores the enmeshment of sovereignty, riots, and social contestation. Riots have continually marked out the thresholds allowed for exceptions to be declared. As such, they have been the sovereign entity par excellence that produces the moments of politics that need to be domesticated. Interestingly, expressions of sovereignty have always presented themselves in contexts of riots and social contestation. These issues will be explored ethnographically in relation to riots in Mozambique. The relationship between excess and domestication is explored through an analysis of two indices of sovereignty: riots and their close associates “mobs” as excess; and processes of domestication. The first index grapples with t he excesses of riots and mobs, and encompasses, I suggest, all the elements of sovereignty: exception, in- and exclusion, and excess. The second index explores the enmeshment of sovereignty and social contestation from the perspective of domestication, particularly the diff erent forms for control and violence that come into play when the quest for making life and creating order is at stake.
A Contexualized, Dynamic, Grounded Exploration
After a brief account of what happened, the question is posed of whether the idea of moral panic is the most revealing approach with which to understand the riots. Before answering, the question of how novel were the riots is addressed in relation to policing, social media, riot areas, the rioters, rioting behavior, the State’s response and the reaction of communities. The elements of a dynamic, grounded explanation are then tentatively offered, followed by an attempt to situate this explanation within the context of the contemporary lives of disadvantaged youth lacking both political support and an economic future. The conclusion returns to the question of moral panic. It suggests that since most of what happened had clear precedents in the series of urban riots since the 1980s, there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that the constructions of the 2011 riots are best understood as a moral panic. However, the small indications of new developments, namely, the sheer vindictiveness of the state’s post-riot response—hunting down the rioters, harsh sentencing, naming juveniles—as well as the spread of rioting to new areas and the practice of communities ‘fighting back’, are important to explore for what they reveal about the present neoliberal conjuncture. They seem to be morbid symptoms of an apparently intractable series of crises characterized by, among other things, an unprecedentedly grim situation for poor, unemployed, disaffected youth living in deprived areas.
Spectacle, Ideology, and Readymade Boogeymen—The 2011 August Riots and the Media
The 2011 August riots that combusted with the police shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, North London, (Laville, 2011; Vasagar, 2011) spread literally like wildfire to cities and towns across England in the space of a matter of hours. At the time, much was written about the supposedly ‘nihilistic’ and ‘opportunistic’ nature of the events, and how, unlike previous urban rebellions, they could not be considered to have any ‘political’ dimension, although there were some notable exceptions to such blanket dismissals, which were offered en bloc from even ‘radical’ quarters, not say media and academic ones. The article seeks to offer an analysis and critique of the media narrative of the events in English cities that August, with the aim of contributing to their demystification and better understanding, more than three years on. The article is written from a Marxist perspective, heavily drawing on Critical Theory and using content analysis and an ideological critique of the media to develop its argument. In the three years since the riots of 2011, the production of literature on those events has been fairly continuous, but largely oblivious to their significance, or just why they received such blanket and unequivocal condemnation. This article, in keeping with its origins as one of ‘the notable exceptions’ at the time makes an interrogative critique of the media’s part in ‘simulating events as they happen’.
Revisiting the 2011 Protest Wave
Mounah Abdel-Samad, Michael Boyle, Shawn Flanigan, Christian Garland, Tony Jefferson, Bob Jeffery, Callie Maidhof, and George Sotiropoulos
Iberia, Greece, and elsewhere, featuring riots in England, Iraq, and Western Sahara, and culminating in an Occupy Movement so significant that it spread around the world. In the wake of this global protest wave, an enormous volume of scholarly research
Deconstructing the Pendelton Riot
Bob Jeffery and Waqas Tufail
This article explores the social dynamics in the city of Salford at the time of the Pendleton riot, which took place amidst the four days of national rioting that began with the killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham by the Metropolitan Police Service. Attempting to counter what we see as a dominant narrative of the riots as 'shopping with violence', this article explores the development of the significant disorder in Salford through a triangulation of accounts, including an extensive review of journalistic accounts, alongside interviews from a dozen people who witnessed the riots as police officers, residents and spectators. Beginning with an overview of the events of August 9th 2011, we argue that the deployment of officers in riots gear in the vicinity of Salford Precinct proved provocative, and created a focal point for the widespread antagonism felt towards the police. Furthermore, we suggest that an understanding of local contextual factors is critical both in terms of answering the question ‘why Salford?’, but also in terms of explaining the ferocity of the violence targeted towards officers of Greater Manchester Police (in contrast to the focus on looting in nearby Manchester city-centre). Interpreting the riots as a response to punitive policing policies that have accompanied state-directed policies of large-scale gentrification, we highlight the degree to which the 'contestations over space' that characterized the riot pointed to an underlying politics of resistance (despite lacking 'formal' political articulation).
Monitoring and Stewarding Demonstrations in Northern Ireland
Rioting in Northern Ireland sometimes appears endemic. The control of public space, through the utilisation of rituals and symbols, has played a significant part in the violent conflict and has remained a central issue since the 1998 Multi-Party Agreement institutionalised the peace process. This article draws upon ethnographic research and anthropological models of ritual to explore policy interventions in conflict resolution over potential public disorders. In particular, it looks at the use of monitors, mediators and marshals at parades and demonstrations and describes how anthropological fieldwork has played a role in developing projects and policies that offer solutions to a cycle of intercommunal street violence.
Causes and Commonalities
Matthew Moran and David Waddington
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.
Based on news video archives, this article employs critical frame and content analysis to analyze representations of the 2005 French banlieue riots on France's most-watched television station, TF1. Cultural racism theory is then used to analyze the results to demonstrate the discursive nature of the TF1 frames and the contexts of institutional racism they left out but which historians, ethnographers, and theorists of cultural racism suggest are crucial to understanding racial conflict in contemporary France. The most frequent frames blamed non-integrating cultures and illegal immigration. That is, race was coded in cultural traits of a problematic sub-group without mentioning it specifically.
Ana Margarida Sousa Santos
the riots sparked by local elections in 2005. Discussing these past events, Mariano's friend spoke of his fear of further violence, remarking on the unfortunate location of his house in Nanduadua, one of the town's oldest neighborhoods where most of