The Riots: A dynamic view
Title: The Riots: A dynamic view
Citation: Seraphim SEFERIADES and Hank JOHNSTON (eds), Violent Protest, Contentious Politics and the neo-liberal State, Farnham, Ashgate, 2012, The Mobilization Series on Social Movements, Protest, and Culture, 87-102
Most social science concepts are contested—but some more so. This is the case for riot, that (as terrorism or Nimby), derives from everyday language, and is used in a stigmatizing way to single out irrational and deviant behavior. While people freely admit that they demonstrate, even in unconventional and sometime “disobedient”, forms, they usually deny that they are rioting, using different terms for defining what they are doing. Additionally, in the social sciences as well as in the political debate, the riot as a form of violence received only sporadic attention. As for other forms of violence, the interpretations about riots and rioting vary dramatically, being influenced by both the specific characteristics of the analysed riots as well as the scientific or political background positions of the analysts. Focusing on the debate in the social science and historical research, and using as illustrations the analysis of the most recent “riots” in France in December 2005 and in Greece in 2008, this presentation addresses: a) The causes for riots: the riots’ narratives; b) The riots within: riots dynamics.
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