Knowing, communicating, sense making, place and urban disorder: young people and the 2011 riots

Ruppert, Evelyn; Kesten, Jamie; Murji, Karim and Neal, Sarah. 2013. Knowing, communicating, sense making, place and urban disorder: young people and the 2011 riots. CRESC. [Other]

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Abstract or Description

In August 2011 rioting, or disorders, occurred in various towns and cities in England. Those events have been widely debated and analysed and a range of explanations, factors and understandings for them have been proposed. This paper reports on a small pilot research study that explored two distinctive elements. First, it focuses on the city of Milton Keynes, a place of ‘almost’ or ‘minor’ riots. Second, it is concerned with, but also seeks to extend and interrogate the view that digital technologies played a unique role in the occurrence and spread of disorders. The research drew on a focus group of 6 young people who were brought together twice to discuss their views on various aspects of events, locally and nationally. In this paper we present three main themes from the data we gathered: young people’s different ways of knowing about the riots and how they went about ‘working with’ and ‘thinking about’ their ways of knowing; the role that thrill seeking and sociality played alongside strong feelings of condemnation and ambivalence about the riots; and the impact of the policing of disorder and young people’s critical views of these approaches and of the police and rioters in general, as well as the ways in which race provides a framing for riots in Britain and elsewhere. We conclude by suggesting that despite some commonalities between our findings and those of other studies, our study is novel in highlighting the ways in which communication techniques, intra group social relations and youth-police relations are profoundly shaped by specific localities and riot geographies.

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1 March 2013

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Date Deposited:

29 Apr 2013 13:19

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:50


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