'The best three days of my life': Pleasure, power and alienation in the 2011 riots


Newburn T, Deacon R, Diski B, Cooper K, Grant M & Burch A (2018) 'The best three days of my life': Pleasure, power and alienation in the 2011 riots. Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal, 14 (1), pp. 41-59.

This article examines one of the less frequently considered elements of riots: the emotions to which they give rise. Based on testimony from interviews with people who took part in the 2011 England riots, it explores the curiosity which drew many onto the streets, the excitement and fear involved in such quickly unfolding and unpredictable events, the impunity that many felt being part of such large crowds, together with the sense of 'empowerment' many experienced as a consequence of their involvement. The article suggests that a number of concepts regularly deployed within cultural criminology – most obviously 'carnival' and 'edgework' – are useful in understanding elements of the emotional world of the riot. More fundamentally, however, it is argued that what the accounts describe more than anything else is a pervading sense of 'alienation' among many of those involved in the disorder.

Alienation; carnival; disorder; edgework; emotions; riots

Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal: Volume 14, Issue 1

FundersJoseph Rowntree Foundation and Open Society Foundations
Publication date01/03/2018
Publication date online05/10/2016
Date accepted by journal01/03/2016
PublisherSAGE Publications

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