Collisions, Coalitions and Riotous Subjects: Reflections, Repercussions and Reverberations – an Introduction

by Kim Allen, Sumi Hollingworth, Ayo Mansaray and Yvette Taylor
Education and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Manchester Metropolitan University; Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research Centre, London South Bank University; Brunel University; Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research Centre, London South Bank University

Sociological Research Online, 18 (4) 1

Received: 12 Jun 2013     Accepted: 13 Jun 2013    Published: 30 Nov 2013


1.1 Over five nights in the summer of 2011, as austerity measures were coming into full biting force, England witnessed riots across several cities including London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, and Nottingham. Sparked by the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29 year old black man from Tottenham, North London, and a reported incident between a 16 year old girl and police following the Duggan family's peaceful protest at the police's handling of the case[1], these five days saw unrest on the streets of London and other urban locales within England. As time passes, we ask, how to situate, understand and protest about such 'repercussions' in the context of criminality (attributed to official and institutional law and order as well as to 'disordered' communities, cities and certain people)? We consider how to 'reflect' on the dis-ordering and dis-orientating effects of recirculating inequalities which locate crime, blame and failure in the most disadvantaged places, while retrieving order, responsibility, safety and resources for the most advantaged populations?

1.2 As we reflect, a reoccurring sentiment is one of frustration and failure: at a political system tasked with democratic responsibility and resourcing, which then steps-back and shifts this responsibility onto families, communities and individuals; at social policies and institutional regulations which criminalize, rather than 'cure', regulate rather than resource; and even, to reflect more intimately upon our own 'responsibilities', as academic 'public sociologists', whose words need to reverberate. At stake are the lives of people, used as scapegoats or 'placing' figures through which politicians deflect their own responsibility. As sociologists we have a responsibility to place ourselves in these debates, to 'walk through' the places we inhabit, personally, politically and professionally (Back 2007; Taylor & Addison 2011). This special section of Sociological Research Online is an attempt at 'walking' a certain way and being mindful of what is brought into effect in these 'travels': who is taken with us, who is left behind, who is able to talk and for whom? If the 'English riots' are 'over', placed and bracketed off in the Summer 2011, what is still present, still reverberating and still impacting? Attending to this question necessitates a 'looking back' as well as an articulation of 'what next?', what futures can be carved out, contested and claimed?

1.3 The papers in this special section result from a one day collaborative conference, entitled 'Collisions, Coalitions and Riotous Subjects: The Riots One Year On', held on the 28 September 2012, which sought to examine the English riots of 2011 and its relationships to (re-shaped) inequalities in contemporary Britain. Organized by the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research (London South Bank University) and the Institute for Policy Studies in Education (London Metropolitan University),[2] the conference brought together speakers from (non) academic communities and sociological perspectives. Alongside papers from scholars across the career stage – some of which are included in this special section – the conference included two lively panel discussions[3]. As part of a commitment to engaging in a broader public sociology, which carries through this special section, the conference drew together speakers from academia, the voluntary sector, activists, media and the arts (see Horsley & Taylor 2012)[4].

1.4 The riots and their effects still reverberate and the conference, and subsequent special section, hopefully allow for a pausing on, with and through people and places, rather than a moving on to new issues or 'new data'. We explore how to dwell in the locations that we inhabit – especially in a time of constrained (and constraining) spaces (Rogers 2013; Silvestri 2013)?

Riotous Subjects: Now and then, here and there, us and them?

1.5 The events of the summer of 2011 came two decades after the 1981 riots of Brixton (London), Moss Side (Manchester) and Toxteth (Liverpool), and the more recent, but curiously 'forgotten' riots in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham in 2001. While these events were followed by a number of official enquiries led by high profile individuals (e.g. Lord Scarman (1981), David Ritchie (2001), Lord Clarke (2001) and Professor Ted Cantle (2001)), the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government's attempts (and desire) to understand what led to the events of 2011 was insufficient and condensing/condescending. In the wake of the unrest, key political figures, such as London Mayor Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the idea that the riots were related to government cuts, the effects of growing levels of poverty, or racial tension. Instead it was claimed these were simply the outcome of criminality, greed and opportunism – a 'twisted moral code':

But now that the fires have been put out and the smoke has cleared, the question hangs in the air: 'Why? How could this happen on our streets and in our country?' Of course, we mustn't oversimplify. There were different things going on in different parts of the country… But what we know for sure is that in large parts of the country this was just pure criminality…. These riots were not about race: the perpetrators and the victims were white, black and Asian. These riots were not about government cuts: they were directed at high street stores, not Parliament. And these riots were not about poverty: that insults the millions of people who, whatever the hardship, would never dream of making others suffer like this. No, this was about behaviour. People showing indifference to right and wrong. People with a twisted moral code. People with a complete absence of self-restraint. (Cameron 2011)

1.6 Sociological analysis was criticized and dismissed as offering an 'excuse' for something for which there was 'no excuse' (see Bassel 2013), just as, decades earlier, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said there was 'no justification' for the 1981 riots. This discourse of 'no excuses' shuts down opportunities to understand why such events might have happened, casting sociologists – casting us – as 'kill joys' for dwelling on this melancholic event (Ahmed 2007). Notably, the timing of the conference and our attempts to reflect, immediately followed a summer of two key events. The summer of 2012 saw 'Brand GB' rejuvenated in both the Queen's Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Olympics. As Britain celebrated in front of an international audience, the riots became an unhappy object of the past which had to be cast out, banished, forgotten. Just as the Broom Army of the #riotcleanup[5] came out to 'repair' the 'broken communities' and shattered streets of the riots a year earlier, Olympic Ambassadors helped recast Britain as a place of cohesion and 'happy smiling multiculturalism' (Ahmed 2007: 132) rather than unrest, alienation, division and anger within and between communities and the state (see Allen & Taylor 2013).

1.7 Such contrasting and contradictory narratives of nation, place, poverty, race and community were evocatively captured in artwork, purportedly by the artist Banksy, which appeared on the wall of budget store, Poundland, in Wood Green, north London in May 2012 – less than two miles away from Tottenham police station where the riots began. The artwork ( shows a young Asian boy hunched over a sewing machine stitching Union Jack bunting. In this time of national 'pride' and jubilation, organising a conference which insisted on remembering, reflecting and speaking of the events of 2011 and the conditions of inequality that produced them, became a renegade act (Puwar 2004), where to pause and reflect is cast as 'tiring' and tired, a labouring over sore points (Ahmed 2007).

1.8 Through the riots conference and beyond, we intend to labour over these sore points, to bring critical perspectives to bear on the complex causes and consequences of the riots, in order to open up a space in which we might begin to imagine something otherwise. This labour continues some of which has gone before, for example in the BSA's Sociology and the Cuts website and in various papers, reports, blog posts and articles (see Allen & Taylor 2013; Bassel 2012; Bauman 2011; de Benedictus 2013; Lewis & Newburn 2011; Horsley & Taylor 2012; Zizek 2011).

1.9 Likewise a rapid response section on the riots has featured in Sociological Research Online (Baker 2011; Gorringe & Rosie 2011; Grover 2011; Moxon 2011; Murji & Neal 2011; Scambler & Scambler 2011; Solomos 2011; Zick Varul 2011). Together, these interventions have laid a strong foundation for mapping and critically interrogating the riots within their broader context of deep austerity cuts and growing inequalities under contemporary capitalism. This special section – like the conference itself – is intended to continue that dialogue and intervention, in doing so both challenging and questioning the dominant political and media narratives which refuse to engage with a sociological analysis which might demand change.

1.10 In focusing on reflections and repercussions, this special section comes from the starting point that re-visiting causes, consequences and ongoing effects of the riots, and the various collisions and coalitions (re)producing 'riotous subjects', are vital. Looking forwards as well as backwards is particularly necessary when political elites dismiss the need for sociological analysis of both the causes of the riots and their longer-term effects. Here, authors raise questions about the relationship between the riots and the increasingly hostile conditions of neoliberalism and the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government's austerity policies, including: growing unemployment, rising tuition fees, cuts to policing, the withdrawal of the Educational Maintenance Allowance, and a devastating overhaul of welfare provision and introduction of punitive workfare regimes. Contributors offer fresh interpretations and analysis, engaging with the relationship between the unrest of August 2011 and wider inequalities within a post-crash, austerity era where the effects of the global recession are still painfully felt (see Atkinson et al. 2012;Taylor 2012b; Levitas 2012; Shildrick et al. 2012; Jensen & Tyler 2013). As we see protests and uprisings across Europe and beyond, and government's implement their austerity agenda this special section sits within a broader sociological project which attends to the convulsions of contemporary capitalism and austerity both nationally and internationally, and their long-term impact.

1.11 This special section comprises four shorter commentaries, which weave a path between the riots conference and broader debates, reflecting on the conference itself and bringing to life the passionate exchanges that took place on that day. These are followed by seven full papers including theoretical pieces and empirically grounded work from scholars across a wide disciplinary terrain. The papers engage with debates in sociology, cultural studies, media studies, and education – and are from academics across the career stage. While attending to different themes and aspects of the riots, together these contributions seek to enhance our understanding of the riots and the on-going reverberations of those five days. In the remainder of this introduction we briefly introduce the individual contributions before drawing out some of the key themes that cut across this collection. Further, in the spirit of reflecting and thinking forward, we locate some of the absences and gaps in this special section which present fertile ground for further sociological attention.

Overview of papers

2.1 This special section begins with four think-pieces which reflect on the conference itself, before moving on to seven full papers. Marisa Silvestri begins by drawing our attention to the underlying tensions between police and local communities which provide an important backdrop to the summer's events and gave the riots of 2011 something of a 'feeling of inevitability'. Entering the conference as a criminologist, Silvestri underlines the importance of working across disciplinary boundaries and non/academic spaces as 'rendezvous subjects'; travelling from our 'safe spaces' into unusual ones, so that we can think differently about contemporary social problems.

2.2 In his think-piece, Antoine Rogers reflects on the movement through and reading of certain raced, classed and gendered bodies, including his own, in the riots of 2011, his native Chicago and in Brixton, South London – a place characterised by histories of racial tension, refuelled by the 'rampant development and community (dis)cohesion' of recent urban gentrification. Rogers powerfully makes a case for the importance of academic spaces such as the conference as a site for both interrogating social events such as the riots, and 'quenching unquenched anger with sociological imagination'.

2.3 The final two think-pieces come from doctoral students who attended the conference and provide compelling, reflective accounts of the day's discussions as they intersected with their own research interests. As a scholar researching (dis)ability and childhood, Harriet Cooper's piece continues Rogers' exploration of embodied difference. Exploring the ways in which power acts differently on different marginal bodies and reflecting on the conference title's reference to 'riotous subjects', she asks, who is seen as having the 'capacity' to be a riotous subject. Ester McGeeny's piece reflects on a week of 'riotous events' including the riots conference, a documentary screening of Riot from Wrong (Nygh 2012) and a theatrical play dramatizing the riots: The Girls, prompting us to think about the spaces for speaking, listening and thinking differently about the lives of contemporary youth.

2.4 In the first of seven full papers, entitled 'The Riots of the Underclass?: Stigmatisation, Mediation and the Government of Poverty and Disadvantage in Neoliberal Britain', Imogen Tyler traces the return of the 'underclass' discourse. She locates this as a dominant way of explaining and containing the meaning of the 2011 riots as the outcome of welfare dependency, irresponsibility and moral (and genetic) deficiencies of 'the poor'. Tyler's paper thus exposes the discourse of the 'underclass' as a powerful organising myth and 'abjectifying category', a form of classification and political formulation which serves particular ideological functions. In positioning the poor as 'revolting subjects' who are deserving of their disadvantage, public consent for vindictive judicial and economic punishments – through neoliberal welfare reform and penal workfare regimes – is secured.

2.5 Tracey Jensen continues this forensic examination of the forms of classification and pathologisation of the poor that were revitalised by the riots. In her paper, 'Riots, Restraint and the New Cultural Politics of Wanting', Jensen critically unpicks claims that the riots were driven by an 'excess of consumer desire' rather than a social and political effect of acts of austerity governance. Locating the riots as a vehicle for the articulation of a simmering 'politics of wanting', Jensen examines how in the wake of the riots, fantasies of austerity, embodied in nostalgic post-war imagery and discourse across a range of media, embraced practices of 'thrift', resilience and restraint. She shows how these attached moral and economic value to different classed and gendered subjects, and coalesced around discourses of the underclass and 'troubled families'.

2.6 Emma Casey's paper, 'Urban Safaris': Looting, Consumption and Exclusion in London 2011', also engages with the role of consumerism in the riots, specifically the marking of subjects as morally deficit via discourses of 'looting'. She argues that the looting provided opportunities to gain value and mobility through consumer practices, where such opportunities are otherwise denied. In accentuating the role of emotion in riots, she draws attention, not only to affective discourses of disgust, but to the strength of desire for consumer goods; as a creative pursuit involving pleasure, plain, taste and distaste. Casey argues that the success and failure of consumption is deeply implicated in processes of social inclusion and exclusion, the effects of which are psychically felt.

2.7 In 'Swagger, Ratings and Masculinity: Theorising the circulation of social and cultural value in teenage boys' digital peer networks', Laura Harvey, Jessica Ringrose and Rosalind Gill present findings from qualitative research with young people in London, undertaken at the time of the riots which explored their use of online social networking sites in the construction of their identities and social relations. Their paper disrupts sensationalist racialised and classed media accounts of the youth looting, 'perverse' consumer desires and criminal technology practices in the 2011 London riots, situating consumption and social media practices as integral to the performance and regulation of contemporary masculinities under global capitalism. They show how hierarchies of popularity and economies of value in young people's peer networks are constructed through judgements of 'style', 'swagger' based on access to cultural goods, such as designer commodities, that signify wealth and status. In doing so they provide an alternative lens through which to think about the looting of consumer goods in the summer of 2011.

2.8 Lisa Mckenzie's contribution 'Fox-trotting the riot: Slow rioting in Britain's inner city' develops the evocative concept of the 'slow riot' (Curtis 1985), drawing from a rich and prolonged ethnographic engagement with residents in St Ann's Nottingham, a public housing estate which has become demonised in the local and national public imagination. Her work reveals how the events of August 2011 permeated the estate. For Mckenzie, the meaning of the riots of 2011 is rooted in an on-going and deepening pathologisation of the working classes under neoliberalism. For those living in St Ann's, 'slow rioting' describes their acute awareness of how they are marked as valueless by those 'outside', as well as how they invert and resist these judgments. Mckenzie also points to the importance of a gendered analysis in understanding how contemporary forms of alienation are lived and negotiated, contrasting local women's engagement with local paid work and welfare services and on-going attempts to protect their sons from criminalisation, with men's economic exclusion, marginality and underground existence. Attending to the lived experiences of these mothers, sons and young men in St Ann's, her paper provides unique insights into the gendered manifestations of rioting and 'riotous subjects' observed in that local context.

2.9 Questions of parenting are explored in greater detail by Jennie Bristow in 'Reporting the riots: Parenting culture and the problem of authority in media analysis of August 2011'. Bristow provides a media content analysis of the ways in which the riots were constructed variously as crises or failures in parenting. She examines three key discourses which emerged to 'explain' the riots; the first of a general moral collapse; the second, that of more specific 'troubled' families; and thirdly, the blaming of contemporary parenting policy as a wider tool of a 'nanny state' which can be seen to infantilize parents. She offers an alternative, missing sociological discourse which she argues is that of a more general demise of adult authority, seeing the rise of pseudo-philosophies of 'child-centredness' and an 'emptying out of adult identity' (Furedi 2001:101–2).

2.10 Leah Bassel's paper, 'Speaking and Listening: The 2011 English Riots' is unique in discussing citizen's response to the riots, beyond typical media and policy voices. Bassel draws on her own participation and involvement in a conference which explored the media responses to the riots, involving – among others – activists, young people from riot-affected areas, academics and journalists. In this evocative piece, she draws on the work of Bickford (1996) and Back (2007) and argues for a form of 'political listening' which can generate alternative spaces to listen, speak and act differently which expand public debate and enrich democratic life. While 'incomplete' she draws on the conference to suggest different forms of political communication which move beyond dominant binaries of 'Us and Them' which not only serve to cut off particular accounts but carries with them racialised discourses of the Other.

Themes of the special section

Conceptualizing the riots: where to turn?

'Yes it's fucking political: everything is political' – Skunk Anansie, 1996.
3.1 As various papers in this collection highlight, the English riots of 2011 were dismissed in political rhetoric and some areas of the media as 'mere criminality', driven by reckless consumer desires of 'feral youth' and enabled by 'poor parenting' rather than a form of political protest. The dominance and power of particular perceptual frames and ways of 'telling the riots' were evident in polls conducted as part of the LSE/ Guardian Reading the Riots empirical study (Lewis & Newburn 2011) where there was a striking and stark disjuncture between the views of those who took part in the riots (via the LSE research) and those of the public (via the Guardian/ ICM poll). While the most popular reasons cited by those involved in the riot surveyed by the LSE were 'poverty', 'policing', 'government policy' and 'unemployment', the public cited reasons of 'poor parenting', 'criminality and 'moral decline' (see Lewis & Newburn 2011). If the 'rioters' themselves conceptualized the riots as political, then who are the public (and the government) to say they weren't? And what underlines their (our) collective failure to 'hear' the rioters and so readily dismiss their accounts? Why are some explanations recognised and others written out? Or, as Harriet Cooper (2013) writes: 'how do we define the 'political' and the 'a-political'? How are these terms policed? And what are the ethics of speech acts which attribute meaning, or meaninglessness, to events?'

3.2 Several contributions (Casey 2013; Jensen 2013; Mckenzie 2013; Rogers 2013; Silvestri 2013) explicitly engage with how the 2011 riots might be positioned in respect to 'riots' of the past (such as the 1981 'race riots'); to more recent forms of unrest and 'revolution' witnessed in other countries (such as the 'Arab Spring' or Occupy movement); and as forms of 'slow rioting', caused by years of growing disadvantage, social alienation and dislocation. More so, the collection forces us to interrogate the function that such distinctions serve. As the dust still settles, we are all – still – 'making sense' of what happened in the summer of 2011.

Race and the 2011 riots

3.3 As Murji and Neal (2011) and Solomos (2011) have argued there was a compelling and troubling unevenness to the way in which discourses of race and ethnicity have been mobilised in readings of the riots of 2011 as compared to riots of earlier times. Race and ethnicity featured far less as a clear contributing factor to the 2011 riots than it did in previous decades (Solomos 2011), with public and political debate instead favouring 'a lens that has emphasised criminality and looting'. In one of many speeches in the wake of the 2011 unrest, David Cameron claimed 'it wasn't race riots, it wasn't political protest, it wasn't a protest against the police. It was looting, it was thieving, it was criminality, it was appalling copycat behaviour' (Cameron in Warrell 2011).

3.4 The riots of Notting Hill (London) and Nottingham in the 1950s were located in a simmering conflict between white and newly arrived Black residents; while the disturbances of 2001 in Oldham, Bradford and Burnley were framed in terms of racial antagonisms between working-class Asian and white communities (e.g.Cantle/Home Office 2001;Ritchie/Oldham Independent Review Panel 2001). The riots that began in Brixton in 1981 were framed not in terms of a conflict between ethnic communities, but antagonism between local, racialised populations and the authorities, most notably the police. With the 'sus' laws a clear catalyst, the independent Scarman report (1981) provided legitimate framing of the 1981 riots as politically motivated, consequently impacting on public perceptions and lighter punitive measures. While 'racial' tensions were called upon to account for the unrest of 2011, political elites readily dismissed these explanations, locating the 2011 unrest as entirely different to the 'race riots' of earlier decades.

3.5 Race occupied a complicated and troubled space in accounts of the events of 2011. The multi-ethnic profile of those involved in the riots led to a 'deracialisation' of the riots (Murji & Neal 2011) and some commentators have used this to dismiss any racial motivation or dimension to these riots. Yet, clearly, racial tensions cannot be negated. Criticism of urban policing, particularly 'stop and search' tactics and its uneven racial profile, have been cited as a major factor in sparking the initial stages of the riots. The riots erupted after the unexplained police shooting of a Black man, Mark Duggan, and the protest outside of Tottenham Police station at the police's inadequate and 'deafening' response to his family's requests to know what happened draws parallels with protests against police–community relations linked to previous forms of unrest (Rogers 2013; Silvestri 2013; Solomos 2011). Research with young people conducted after the riots, including research with those involved in the unrest (Lewis and Newburn 2011; Nwabuzo 2012), found poor police-community relations to be a major source of anger amongst minority ethnic communities. In particular, young black and minority ethnic men felt themselves recurrent victims of racist profiling and experienced regular invasions of privacy and humiliating public encounters with the police. These concerns are corroborated by statistics which reveal that a young Black man is at least six times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than a young white man (Equality and Human Rights Commission 2010; see also Reicher & Stott 2011; Rogers 2013).

3.6 We must however be cautious with how we claim 'race' as a factor in the riots. Campaigners have warned against the consequences of seeing these as simply 'racially' motivated where this reproduces the stereotypes of black youth (as 'criminal gang members') and black communities and families ('as plagued' with 'poor parenting') which already fix them into place as morally deviant (Reynolds 2013). As Rob Berkely of the Runnymeade Trust stated: 'Race is clearly playing a part in the backdrop to these riots, and where relationships are already bad I suspect it has made it worse. But I fear that people will rush to judgment, to the suggestion that this is all to do with black youths' (Berkley 2011). Further, Casey (2013) notes that the looting and attacks on police by white youth in working-class estates in the early 1990s in places such as Oxford, Cardiff and Tyneside remain hidden and obscured from the collective memory and representation of riotous subjects. The Reading the Riots report discusses this complexity, acknowledged by many research participants who viewed the multi-ethnic composition of the rioters as reflecting a shared sense of exclusion and injustice (Lewis & Newburn 2011). They cite Sheldon Thomas, a gang expert and youth worker who was involved in Brixton in 1981, who claims 'These politicians have no interest in the white man in Salford or the black man in Brixton.'

3.7 Even while politicians and other officials readily dismissed the events of 2011 as completely different from what went before, racialised discourses still underlined these official accounts of the riots and 'riotous subjects', variously revitalising 'panicked' discourses of 'out of control' immigration (Back et al. 2012), the failures of multiculturalism (Janmaat 2009; Joppke 2004; Kundnani 2002; Wessendorf 2010), and 'poor' parenting and absent fathers in black communities. Academic interventions which have emerged after the riots (see Allen & Taylor 2013; Phoenix & Phoenix 2012) point to the ways in which discourses circulating in the media about the riots and riotous subjects – including Historian David Starkey's now infamous comment about the 'whites becoming black' – have racialising as well as gendered effects, creating 'afresh an old racialised hierarchy of belonging' (Phoenix & Phoenix 2012: 62–63), which implicitly racialise the riots, whilst simultaneously explaining the multi-ethnic participation of others. Such discourses have performative effects and resonate and reverberate in the public consciousness and common sense. The effect is that minority ethnic communities are caught in an 'identity trap' (Youdell 2003): damned if they do and they are damned if they don't. Blackness in these contexts acts as both essence and effect, a mobile signifier (Skeggs 2004) that attaches to other non-Black bodies but nevertheless remains 'essentially' Black in its 'corrupting' effects.

3.8 In this special section, several papers (and commentaries, see Silvestri 2013; Rogers 2013) add flesh to Murji and Neal's claim (2012) that race discourses have been 'there and not there' in the interpretation of the 2011 riots. Contributors illuminate the complex ways in which race features as an absent presence in the construction of 'riotous subjects', including the criminalisation of black urban youth in media and policy discourse; and exposing the racial tensions in poor communities as lived experience. Lisa Mckenzie's research in Nottingham clearly points to the long-term consequences of these fractured relations between the community on the St Ann's estate, the police and other representatives of the state. Her paper brings to life the pain, risk and humiliation faced by young black and mixed-race men, and which limits their social and spatial mobility (see also Rogers 2013). Meanwhile, Bassel's paper (2013) engages with the racialised binaries of 'Us and Them' which played out in public and media debate about the 2011 riots where certain racialised communities were pathologised, and certain histories of fractured race relations – and previous deaths at the hands of police – were written out of history. Bassel also recounts the anger voiced by young people about media representations of black youth – produced by mainly all-white newsrooms – and the importance of providing alternative stories.

Protest? Looting? Shopping with violence?

…an explosion bound sooner or later to happen… a social minefield…created by the combination of consumerism with rising inequality… This was not a rebellion or an uprising of famished and impoverished people or an oppressed ethnic or religious minority – but a mutiny of defective and disqualified consumers, people offended and humiliated by the display of riches to which they had been denied access… [It was] an attempt to join, if only for a fleeting moment, the ranks of consumers from which they have been excluded (Bauman 2011)

3.9 A key issue examined and addressed in this special section, is the relationship and link between consumerism, the riots and the imagined possibilities for political action (see also Moxon 2011 for a discussion of consumer culture and the riots). For many commentators the events of 2011 were not political (racially motivated or otherwise) because of their overtly consumerist orientation. Unfavourable comparisons were made with the Brixton riots of 1981, which in its contemporary re-imagining has come to represent an unambiguous political moment. David Starkey's infamous catchphrase 'shopping with violence' captures this sentiment. However, his description bears some examination. It suggests an incongruity between the frivolity of mere 'shopping' and the seriousness of 'violence'. However, looting has, and continues, to be very much part of rioting and other forms of civil disobedience[6]. Further, as Casey (2013), Harvey, Ringrose and Gill (2013) and Mckenzie (2013) show, for many, conspicuous consumption is fundamental to contemporary life, social relations and social hierarchies and forms of distinction. It is an important aspect of ways in which people generate value within local communities and youth cultures where such value and status is otherwise denied. The objects we consume are not just appendages and accessories but are integral to the production of the selfhood, as a self with value. In this sense shopping is vital: it defines our very existence.

3.10 These papers beckon us to consider how we might re-conceptualise and reclaim the riots not as apolitical but as forms of resistance to, or manifestations of, current material contexts of poverty and growing social distance under neoliberalism and contemporary capitalism (see Grover 2011; Scambler & Scambler 2011). Even when rioters appeared to have 'no programme' (Zizek 2011), no clearly articulated motivation, this special section asks how might we consider these events in light of growing distance between the poor and the super-rich, political elites and multi-national corporations (see Atkinson et al. 2012; Dorling 2010; Jensen 2013)? While the wealth of the few is growing, many others suffer and such suffering is increasingly silenced.

3.11 The consumerist impulse of many of the rioters posed problems for those on the left as well as the right of the political spectrum. While those on the right were quick to dismiss the looting as 'mindless criminality' and thus proof of its apolitical nature, those on the left found it difficult to see a politics, in what many considered as 'unsophisticated' greed. Casey (2013) points to media criticism of the types of consumer goods which were being targeted by looters. Criticism was raised about the 'superficial' and seemingly non-essential items such as jewellery, trainers and flat-screen televisions; rather than the staples of bread and milk. Indeed, the acknowledgement that bookshops were left untouched was used as evidence of a further denigration of rioters' consumption choices. However, as Casey notes, shops containing goods with high resale potential were targetedi: the looting was fuelled not only by a desire for consumer items but also a recognition of others' desire for consumer items, and thus the potential to capitalize on this. Ironically, as neoliberalism idealises entrepreneurialism and risk-taking for economic profit (rewarding bankers for such behaviour even when this caused the current crisis), perhaps the rioters are the ultimate entrepreneurial subjects. Indeed, in Lisa Mckenzie's paper (2013) we see how engagement in entrepreneurial activities on the black economy formed an inescapable aspect of everyday life for young men on the St. Anns estate.

3.12 In a slightly different vein, Jensen examines the complex but increasingly significant way in which consumer desires, practices and orientations become a means to classify subjects under austerity, exposing powerfully the new forms of othering that proliferated across media platforms in the wake of the riots. Jensen illuminates how for the middle-classes, it is 'conspicuous non-consumption' which emerges as a new marker of cultural value. As the post-war Blitz spirit circulated, 'wanting' itself has become pathologised as vulgar and illegitimate, the riots situated as an outpouring of excessive greed. 'Being thrifty', frugal and austere are not only desirable as a consumer identity, this is also connected to the mobilisation of new forms of 'legitimated' and sanctioned political action, as the 'so called respectable gentrifiers' of the Broom Army – 'keeping calm and carrying on' – claimed their place as Cameron's 'Big Society' ideal citizens and political actors, in contrast to the 'feral' rioters.

3.13 In a sense, some shopped with violence because shopping, the social relations of consumer culture, and the material conditions of inequality that these express, are forms of symbolic violence. The riots were a manifestation of what happens in a neoliberal era of austerity, where for so many, opportunities to gain value are refused and withdrawn; when we can only consume and not produce; when the 'acquisitive self' (Skeggs 2004) is let loose, in a vacuum of law and order; when those who cannot live the acquisitive self, find themselves devoid of value. We do not need to look far to find sentiments of growing despair, alienation and anomie among youth engaged in the riots. They are easily read off the pages of the Reading the Riots report which estimated that 75% of those who rioted were under 24 years old, and of those interviewed who were of working age and not in education, 59% were unemployed (Lewis & Newburn 2011). In Tyler's paper (2013), such conditions of alienation and exclusion are brought to life in the narrative of a young man from the Reading the Riots study, who, in explaining his participation in the riots, spoke of continual knockbacks from local employers unwilling or unable to give him work: 'I literally went there to say, "All right then, well, everyone's getting free stuff, I'm joining in", like, 'cos, it's fucking my area. These fucking shops, like, I've given them a hundred CVs … not one job. That's why I left my house' (in Tyler 2013).

3.14 To suggest that the consumerist impulse and ethic is devoid of any political significance begs a number of questions about what counts as political action, and forces us to consider who has the power to define the actions of others and the specific socio-historical conditions which make those judgments possible. We need therefore to re-think the ways in which politics, under contemporary neoliberalism is recontextualised and reframed in relation to our consumerist practices and ethics and broader patterns of disadvantage. Indeed, returning to the frustration spoken by the young man interviewed for the Reading the Riots study, two aspects stand out: the frustrations of unemployment and a sense of injustice that these corporations can invade 'my area' and not give anything back. On the latter, the majority of outlets targeted were big business, only 9% of all the premises attacked were small, independent retailers; and many looters constructed their looting as justifiable, targeting 'major consumer brands' 'big businesses that are just raping the world', and multinationals who 'commit world crimes against people in factories, sweatshop…. It's karma' (Lewis & Newburn 2011).

3.15 It is important also to situate the riots in a context where attempts to find meaningful employment are thwarted, and where heighted discourses of 'aspiration' and individual responsibility construct disadvantaged young people repeatedly as 'lacking' the right aspirations, even though structural conditions prevent any aspirations from ever being met (Allen & Hollingworth 2013; Allen 2013a, 2013b; Roberts & Evans 2012). Mike Raco (2009) argues that we have witnessed a move from 'expectational citizenship' (framed by the welfare state) to 'aspirational citizenship,' where the citizen can no longer expect provision and support from the state as a 'right', but individuals must take responsibility for their own future (Hines & Taylor 2012). Expectation, he unpicks, means 'the condition of being likely to, or entitled to receive or experience something in the future' (Raco 2009: 438). So, in this context of ontological insecurity, or as Tyler (2013) refers to it, a 'crisis of possibility' – where guarantees of anything in the future (a job, a home, an education, a pension, healthcare) are being drastically eroded, and the responsibility for securing these are placed squarely at our feet as individuals – is it any wonder this outburst, unrest and revolt occurred (Brown 2013)?

3.16 As austerity continues, welfare cuts go deeper and harder, fees rise and unemployment sores, the riots of 2011 tells us something profound about the lives of a generation of young people – and their parents – who are told to aspire, to take responsibility, to want and to have, at the very time that they are denied the conditions in which to have those aspirations realised. Neoliberal modes of address continue to interpellate young people to be 'aspirational', future-oriented, enterprising subjects and responsibilise parents (particularly mothers) to bring forth and cultivate their children as neo-liberal citizens (Allen & Taylor 2013; Jensen & Tyler 2013; Gillies 2012). Such modes of neoliberal subjectification intensify just as the very acts of austerity governance create a landscape in which it is increasingly hard to imagine a future (Allen & Taylor 2013; Archer et al. 2010; Atkinson et al. 2012; Back 2012; Gillies & Robinson 2012; Dillabough & Kennelly 2010; Macdonald & Marsh 2005; McDowell 2012; Shildrick et al. 2012; Reynolds 2012; Roberts & Evans 2012).

3.17 In this context it is not surprising then that frustration and resentment is unleashed. Yet, as Zizek (2011) highlights, this frustration has no meaningful vent. As one 19-year old student in the Reading the Riots study claimed: 'We found no other way to express how we felt about it'. Traditional political activism via unionization is on the drastic decline, while the arrest and criminalisation of young people attending recent student marches against the marketization of higher education (Power 2012) reveals the ways in which concerted attempts have been made to quell and disperse dissenting social forces (Hall et al. 2013: 19).

3.18 More so, in masking the workings of power and privilege neoliberalism creates a blockage. Anger within working class communities – at growing inequalities, forms of judgement, policing, discrimination, and the demands to give respect but not receive it – has no-place to go. This anger becomes manifest in 'ugly feelings' (Skeggs & Loveday 2012; see also Addison 2012) which go unheard by political elites. Such feelings are 'the affects that structure our lives, which become attached to us as if personal dispositions, when in fact they are generated through our relationship to much larger structures of inequality' (Skeggs & Loveday 2012: 483). Following this, papers in this collection force us to consider the riots as a manifestation and articulation of these ugly feelings, produced as a result of growing injustice, de/classification and constant judgment.

Classification, marginalization and morality: contemporary capitalism and the racialisation and gendering of the urban poor

3.19 Central to this special section is a political and theoretical project which challenges the attempts by political elites to disassociate the riots from inequalities and divisions of class, gender, race, sexuality and place through new forms of classification. While the effects of neoliberal economic policies of austerity began to be felt unequally, discourses of individualism and self-responsibility suffused public framings of the riots, as 'fear and loathing' (Mckenzie 2013) returned to frame the summer's 'riotous subjects'. Stereotypes of the 'welfare scroungers', 'skivers', 'feral youth', 'feckless parents' abounded and circulated in fervent pace across policy and media discourse, from newspaper headlines to the speeches of senior politicians. The papers in this collection, through various foci, attend to the new and heightened forms of classification and othering – classed, gendered, raced – enacted in the wake of the riots and through which certain subjects were marked as 'riotous', deficit, morally, socially and culturally (and economically) 'redundant' and out of place. As Taylor notes:

…Imagining ourselves to be in, or to have a 'place', often involves complex feelings of loss and gain, entrenching a sense of belonging or rupturing this through disconnecting claims, entitlements and longings. These 'economies of feeling' work across different contexts and are present in everyday geographies as well as in macro social structures that (re)produce classed and gendered subjects and spaces… Not everyone can 'fit in', or flexibly cast themselves through trajectories of future potential, as the city and citizenry are also recast through regeneration and rebranding – and not everyone wants to 'fit in' to such spaces… Notions of accretion and capacity contrast with erosion and culpability and are manifest in uneven effects across space where only certain people, with particular histories and geographies, are able to embrace and capitalise upon change… (Taylor 2012b: 1)

3.20 Through analysis of media and policy discourse, a number of the pieces attend to the perpetuation of powerful, stigmatising myths about aspiration, disadvantage, poverty and privilege, through which the suffering of the poorest has become normalised, excused and divorced from the broader social, legal and economic conditions within which they are located, leaving socioeconomic inequalities intact. As Jensen notes (2013) these myths are products of a 'huge labour of denial around how current economic policies structurally impact upon those with the least'. This collection of papers exposes and interrogates the place of the riots in revitalising powerful stereotypes, perceptual frames and 'taken for granteds' (Hall et al. 2013: 17) about inequality, identifying how these operate as forms of symbolic governance and exploitation under neoliberalism.

3.21 The collection demonstrates how the 2011 riots provided a powerful vehicle for broader systems of evaluation, judgments and placing of classed, gendered, raced subjects. As structural causes of poverty have been increasingly squeezed out of public discourse, an emphasis individual deficits, failures and 'perverse' desires has come to reign in explanations of inequalities that characterise the present (Allen & Taylor 2013). In the riots, these coalesced around evaluations of consumer practices (Harvey et al. 2013; Casey 2013; Jensen 2013); parenting (Bristow 2013; Mckenzie 2013); and aspiration and moral conduct (Tyler 2013). Attending to how the culturalisation of poverty played out vividly and powerfully in the wake of the riots, this collection evokes the texture and shape of inequalities in contemporary Britain.

3.22 In continued conversations presented here, opportunity to reflect on the discursive terrain of the Coalition government in England is provided. Indeed, using the riots as a focus, the papers variously explore the current landscape through which inequalities are being narrated within policy and media discourse. We see in the analysis presented (Tyler 2013; Bristow 2013; Jensen 2013) both shifts and continuities between the discursive terrain of New Labour and the current Coalition government. We witness how classed, gendered and racialised subjects are placed through new and old motifs of 'Broken Britain' and 'Big Society' Citizenship; the sensibilities of thrift/greed, restrain/excess; and a 'litany of social pathologies' (Slater 2013) ascribed to the working classes – 'worklessness', 'irresponsibility', 'broken homes', 'dependency' – which work to generate consensus for a drastic reformation and destruction of the welfare state (see also Allen 2013b; Hall et al. 2013).

3.23 We also see the role of the riots in reproducing and resolidifying of existing social hierarchies and inequalities within urban multi-ethnic and socially diverse contexts (Hollingworth & Mansaray 2012). In Mckenzie's paper we see this as lived experience. Mckenzie examines in detail how communities become 'ghettoised' within an increasingly polarised society, where exclusion from spaces of privilege (real and symbolic) creates mistrust, fear and an acute awareness of external judgement (see also Rogers 2013). We also see how the riots enabled new forms of territoralisation (Jensen 2013; Casey 2013) as the #riotcleanup allowed some classed and gendered subjects an opportunity to enact 'rightful' Big Society citizenship through their 'desirable' responses to the riots (see also Allen & Taylor 2013). In illuminating the effects of a 'spatialisation' of class and race and the claiming of space by some and/at the exclusion of 'unruly' Others, the collection exposes how hierarchies of belonging (Back et al. 2012) were variously crystallised in and through the riots.

The riots and public sociology: attending, collaborating, speaking and listening

3.24 In different ways, the papers in this special section and the conference itself, address some key issues about the role of public sociology. As academics we have a social responsibility to engage with and respond to contemporary issues and 'crisis'. For example, Les Back has called for a rethinking the 'craft' of sociology in recording, interpreting and understanding social events, particularly in times where higher education, and the left, are coming under attack (Back 2013). This involves thinking about imagining different modes of relationships to the 'publics' who are interested, like us, in the key problems of the contemporary. The entrepreneurial university – and indeed the 'entrepreneurial' funded researcher – has been tasked with making an impact in responsibilising citizens to come forward and make a difference as part of a 'Big Society' (as conveyed in shifting funding priorities) (Taylor 2014). In some ways the 'impact agenda' can enable – and constrain – these opportunities to 'take sociology out for a walk' (Back 2013; Taylor & Addison 2011).

3.25 Yet, in other ways this very agenda can jeopardise the capacity to fulfil the social responsibility of academics and academia. Structural impediments including marketization and competition within higher education, and the publishing imperatives imposed by the Research Excellence Framework, can hamper and restrict these spaces and opportunities to engage differently through different outputs and exchanges outside of journal articles and monographs. While asked to engage with 'public', the impact agenda also compels academics to be individualised, competitive, self-achieving, acquisitive subjects pre-occupied with only our own value rather than, or above, our social and sociological futures. Such impediments mean that value is measured solely as competitiveness ('competition') rather than the longer pauses (or 'reverberations') which we are hoping to instigate and practice (as continued conversations form a cross-institutional effort) within this special section and the conference itself.

3.26 Furthermore, while there are calls for institutions to work collaboratively in this project of public sociology – for example, the British Sociological Association called for collaboration rather than competition between institutions – educational funding crises and tight impact agendas arguably heighten the hierarchy of universities, capacitating only some institutions as supposed future-orientated regenerators, bringing forward capacitated citizens (Taylor & Allen 2011; Horsley & Taylor 2012).

3.27 The collaborative cross-institutional efforts, aspirations and challenges for creating a space to practice public sociology – to speak and to listen – are themselves carried through this special section as they were the conference itself. Our conversations and planning – of the conference and this special section – continued at a time of heightened cut-backs, in and beyond higher education, when certain individuals (certain institutions) are more vulnerable than others. We wanted to respond proactively to calls to work collaboratively, rather than competitively, across institutions, where we see this work as part of a public sociology which is accountable to a diverse body of students, where education isn't owned by and done exclusively for white, middle-class institutions and audiences (and claimed by them as an enterprising diversity) (Addison 2012; Ahmed 2012; Taylor 2012a, 2012b; Taylor & Allen 2011). The conference, as an event organised cross-institutionally and which purposely engaged academic and non-academic participants, aimed to open up a space to reflect upon the construction of 'riotous subjects' beyond the walls of academia, where the reverberations of responsiveness to a broad 'publics' can be best enacted as a collective sociological endeavour.

3.28 Yet, which 'publics' are we speaking to, of and for? Who is included in this broader political project and space for responsiveness? Who – which classed, gendered, raced bodies – can enter positions where observing, talking, reflection, action is permitted and possible? Who might not be able to enter these same spaces and dialogues to look or speak? And who might be stuck, fixed in place, the subject of a gaze which judges, criminalises and depowers? These questions are difficult but vital, captured by Silvestri's (2012) reflections on an exchange that took place at the conference between two participants: as one female speaker spoke of warning her mixed race son 'not to venture outside' during the riots for fear of escalating trouble', another white male participant spoke of excitedly instructing his son to 'go out and have a look', experiencing 'the carnival of crime in all its glory'. This exchange 'left a resounding message about the power of social, racial, gendered and spatial positioning'.

3.29 In a similar vein, in opening the conference, and as an effort in still trying – to reflect on the riots, to collaborate cross-institutionally, to practice a 'public sociology' – as co-organiser, Yvette hesitated somewhat over introducing the day as spotlight or showcase and in conveying some of the intellectual issues discussed. She expressed uncertainty about the 'pace' of academia as well as the space for reflection. Even as we go faster in academia, in 'impacting', in claiming, even using, 'publics'. Precisely because they are weighty and should cause some pause. There are real labours, inclusions and exclusions here that also need care and recognition. But who 'owned' the day was not determined in advance; we wanted it to be everyone's but were mindful of our different entry points into this space. The different 'entry points' into this space, the different locations in which subjects speak from – in terms of career, institution as well as class, gender, race, sexuality and disability – are also reflected on powerfully by Cooper (2013) and McGeeney (2013) in their commentaries.

3.30 Several papers in this collection engage critically with the imperatives to practice public sociology, our duties as academics to 'speak' and 'listen', and the tensions within this. Most notably, Bassel's paper (2013) speaks squarely to these issues. Reflecting on her experiences of putting into practice the ideas of 'political listening' advocated by Back (2007) and Bickford (1996), Bassel makes a powerful call for us as academics to enter public life, to engage in dialogue and to listen, in all its messiness and uncertainty. But she also engages with the tensions and ambivalences that come with this, warning that political listening and public sociology more broadly must be done with care and caution, including reflection on the points at which we enter and exit these spaces: 'The events of August 2011 should not generate a "land grab" mentality where academics scramble to appropriate these events, to take them under the particular umbrella of specific institutions and authors and "own" the riots'.

3.31 Elsewhere, Tyler (2013) responds to Gilroy's (2011) call for new ways of seeing and engendering critical sociological voices that provide new, alternative discourses about class and poverty, which might helpfully – and politically – 'fracture the consensus that these were the riots of the underclass'. Such an alternative vocabulary and 'counter-hegemonic aesthetic practices' as well as their dissemination beyond academic walls might well address the unattached 'ugly feelings' spoken of earlier; not just generating public compassion and action, but allowing those who feel class injustice to understand their positioning not as the outcome of individual failings but rather as the outcome of structures of inequality. Yet, Tyler also highlights how risky it is to practice public sociology, where 'the rioters and the public were warned that the proffering and receiving of "economic and sociological justifications" would be as revolting as the riotous acts themselves'. How then to respond to and refuse this shutting down of alternative discourse? As academics, how do we become 'revolt-ing' in a way that affects change?

3.32 Finally, several papers give voice to those communities most affected by the acts of austerity and pathologising language which now frames poverty and disadvantage, and prompt us to consider the importance of opening up spaces through which alternative accounts of 'riotous subjects' can be generated whereby their voices are present and validated rather than silenced (Cooper 2013; McGeeney 2013; Rogers 2013). In their paper, Harvey, Ringrose and Gill (2013) present the lived realities of young people demonised in public discourse as 'feral'. The voices of these teenage men rise powerfully from the page, disrupting the dominant accounts of contemporary youth and young lives which circulated in the wake of the riots. In her ethnographic account of the St Ann's estate in which she lives, McKenzie provides an example of practicing public sociology. Yet, rather than a sociologist taking a walk out to the public, Mckenzie has brought her 'public' – the estate that is her home as well as her research site - to academic spaces and arenas (such as the conference and this special section).

Conclusion: absences and futures

4.1 We, with contributors, have invoked 'attentiveness', 'participation', 'publics' and 'protest'; clearly the papers in this special section attend to some dimensions of inequalities more than others. While class, gender and race are key themes in many of the papers, sexuality is considered less substantially: we may want to pause on exclusions and elisions, both empirically and theoretically, in order to re-place and sociology more capable of reverberating with and recognizing all. While many papers consider the post-riot discourses and fantasies of family, community and youth – and their function of these – the place of the riots in reproducing heteronormative models of the family (both as failure, potential and recuperation) demand further interrogation. Unsurprisingly, the 'best interests of the children' – as future citizens (Parker 2010; Taylor 2011) remains the repeated chorus of 'proper intimacy' (as coupled and reproductive). These 'best interests' are often invoked as if this is something exclusive, owned by, and done through properly paired heterosexual family units (the 'unit' as a solid 'fit' and 'match' is also rehearsed and rendered through categories of class, gender, race as well as sexuality) (Skeggs 2004; Taylor 2009, 2012a, 2012c).

4.2 In interrogating the riots and their relations to formations of 'families', 'communities', youth, 'citizenship', we must acknowledge that these are seemingly placed in (or propelled out of) heteronormativity. Indeed, in attending to some categories, subjects and spaces of difference and inequality, we ask 'what else is rendered absent' and how might those absences reproduce race/class/gender? Traditional economic models of class stratification and mobility have generally overlooked women, and feminist critiques of these models have overlooked lesbians (Taylor 2007, 2009). This oversight isn't simply a problem for those of us who care about lesbian, gay, bi and trans representation but remains a problem for us all (Allen & Taylor 2013; Binnie 2011; Taylor 2007, 2009, 2010).

4.3 Some of the papers (Jensen 2013; Rogers 2013; Tyler 2013) make connections between the English Riots and forms of unrest and protest in other parts of the world, however most focus exclusively on England and English media and policy. While the conference itself engaged with forms of unrest and protest beyond the English riots of 2011, such as the Arab Spring, Occupy, and escalating protests across Europe, there is much more work to be done here.

4.4 Despite these absences, we hope that together the papers make an important contribution to on-going debates within the UK and elsewhere about the relationship between the riots of 2011 and the acts of austerity and global capitalism. The effects of the 2011 riots will continue to reverberate and ripple in this landscape of deepening cuts, divisions and widening inequalities. This collection provides no clear answers but rather carries an insistence on the importance of 'grappling' with the complexity of the contemporary. Indeed, the collection calls on us all to be 'riotous subjects' – to keep listening, questioning, disrupting, revolting. In looking back as well as forward, the collection leaves us with many important questions: Where are we now? Where are we going? And, how do we make sociology 'travel' so that we can produce a different kind of future? These are questions we must, as sociologists and 'publics', ask ourselves and each other.


1News reportage of the protest outside Tottenham police station references escalating tensions between the Dugan family, local residents and the police. This references an incident between a 16 year old girl whose demands for answers from the police was met with an 'attack' of police 'shields and batons' (see Lewis 2011 <>)

2 At the time of the conference, Kim Allen, Sumi Hollingworth and Ayo Mansaray were located in Institute for Policy Studies in Education (London Metropolitan University). They have since moved institutions.

3The panels were organised around the themes of 'reflections' and 'futures'. Speakers were: Professor Les Back (Goldsmiths College); Ojeaku Nwabuzo (The Runnymede Trust); Dr Clifford Stott (Aarhus University, Denmark; co-author of Mad Mobs and Englishmen? Myths and Realities of the Riots 2011); Gillian Slovo (Playwright, 'The Riots'); Dr Lisa McKenzie (University of Nottingham); Owen Jones (author of Chavs: The demonization of the working-class); Professor Valerie Hey (University of Sussex); Tracey Gore (Director of the Steve Biko Housing Assoc., Liverpool); Professor Val Gillies (Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research); Daniel Silver (Salford Social Action and Research Foundation).

4For a full list of speakers and participants, see Taylor and Horsley 2012 ( )

5#RiotCleanUp was a campaign which organised and coordinated 'clean ups ' of areas of the country affected by the riots, operating through social network site Twitter. [See: <> Accessed 21.09.12]

6The Egyptian government is still trying to recover many of the objects and antiquities looted from museums and archaeological sites during the 'political' uprisings in 2011.


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