IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The 2011 'Riots': Reflections on the Fall and Rise of Community

Listed author(s):
  • Andrew Wallace


Registered author(s):

    This paper argues that sociological engagement with the 2011 summer unrest in England has thus far overlooked an important aspect of the 'rioting': the troubling by 'rioters' of the communitarian publics and moral geographies which constitute marginalised city-space. In response to this knowledge gap, this paper seeks to argue that the unrest was transgressive of governance logics which construct inner city 'communities' as spatialised units housing ethno-class legacies and sociations; environments in which remoralised urban citizenships are increasingly being located by policymakers and urban managers. A key goal of the paper is to briefly unpack and situate these projects within repertoires of urban management within the neoliberal city. Another goal is to reflect on media and policy responses to the 'riots' to illustrate the existence and reinforcement of these projects, evinced by the popular construction of 'rioting' as contravening ordered community practice. By mapping the representation and vectoring of community within these narratives either as a fallen or resurgent entity, the paper contends that they provide important insights into the contested socio-moral management strategies increasingly brought to bear on the urban poor. The paper also considers foregrounding such urban strategies as context as crucial for a sociological framing of the unrest and the repudiation of depoliticised victim-blaming accounts. The paper also briefly reflects on the periodised, networked and disparate practices of the 'riots' to stress the dangers of boxing unrest, or indeed rest, within narrow spatial or behavioural boundaries or essentialised causal categories. Amongst other things, the diffuseness and multi-scalar nature of the 'riots' revealed the deficiency of this normative reading of the registers of urban citizenship. In this sense, the paper suggests that some academic commentary on the 'riots' has been in danger of reinforcing the same localised and residualised cartographies of citizenship generated by communitarian governance strategies at a time when sociologists should be exposing and resisting such articulations. In developing this discussion therefore, the paper seeks to challenge the formulations and boundaries of 'community' as conceptualised by urban governance strategies driving the functional reproduction of neoliberal marginalities.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Sociological Research Online in its journal Sociological Research Online.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 1-15

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:2012-14-2
    Contact details of provider:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:2012-14-2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Norris)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.