Contexts for Distraction
Abstract or Description
This paper is a critical response to both the events of the popular uprisings of August 2011, which have come to be known as the London Riots, and the subsequent research, policy and media outputs of various institutionally based reporters, analysts and academics in the year that has followed. We examined a range of texts to identify rhetorical devices that we refer to collectively as a set of diversionary and attention-distracting ‘Jedi mind tricks’ . That is, we argue that a variety of commentators on the uprisings deploy a series of media-biased psych-operations or sleights-of-hand in the construction of an apologetic popular discourse on the events of August 2011. These diversionary devices could be constructed as distractions from both the meanings and implications of the disturbances, which would otherwise be obvious and more widely recognized. Hence these are ‘mind tricks’. We use a phrase derived from the well-known intergalactic ideological practice, associated with clerical force and power, because often the ruse of ‘commentary’ is used to conceal and obscure significance and to provide legitimacy for reactionary politics.