Thursday, 18 October 2012

Framing the riots

an article by Allison Cavanagh (University of Leeds) and Alex Dennis (University of Sheffield) published in Capital & Class Volume 36 Number 3 (October 2012)


An analysis of commentary on the UK’s August 2011 riots reveals shifts in the way the media and politicians now construe concepts of youth, race, criminality and deprivation.

By comparing the response to these events with that which followed the riots of 1981, these changes can be clarified and illuminated.

This analysis reveals that discussions of ‘social problems’ exploited by ‘infiltrators’ (1981) have been replaced by notions of ‘pure criminality’ and ‘mob rule’.

The implications of these changes for contemporary protest, and some ways in which the riots and other forms of protest can be related, are drawn out.

Hazel’s comment:
Are the youth of today so very different from the youth of 30 years ago? I doubt it. What is different, as this article makes clear, is the authority’s language in response is very different.
I am aware that the activities of last year were more extreme and that the looting was on a scale that has rarely been seen in England but that does not, to my mind, make the perpetrators any less victims of social problems which need to be sorted.

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