The English Riots of 2011: summoning community, depoliticizing the city

Wallace, Andrew (2014) The English Riots of 2011: summoning community, depoliticizing the city. City, 18 (1). pp. 10-24. ISSN 1360-4813

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The urban uprisings which occurred across England in the summer of 2011 are deemed in this paper to highlight the unstable, depoliticised ‘publics’ being increasingly convened within neo-liberalised cities. It contends that the diverse, dispersed and multiple events of August 2011 were ‘staged’ and ‘storied’ by assorted media and political narratives to represent socio-spatial ‘communities’ as fallen, harmed or resurgent entities. The paper exposes some of the evidential limitations of these reworkings but largely focuses on these imaginaries to reflect on how they implicate the city in the delineation of fragile and contradictory socio-spatial formations emerging from, through and in response to neo-liberalisation. In this regard, the scripting of the ‘riots’ around narratives of community crisis and redemption belies the sifting, bordering and reproducing of urban populations through the strategic governing dualities of abjection/exclusion and participation/responsibility. The paper suggests that these modalities produce landscapes of both depoliticisation and contingent disruption, an apparent contradiction which appears to be both intensifying and unravelling in a period of ‘alchemic austerity’, and which renders logics of restructuring as both unremitting and glaringly problematic.

Keywords:English riots, Neoliberalism, Community, Urban marginality, NotOAChecked
Subjects:L Social studies > L723 Political Geography
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L722 Urban Geography
L Social studies > L380 Political Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:13422
Deposited On:25 Feb 2014 19:54

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