Advertisement

Voice or Noise? Spaces of Appearance and Political Subjectivity in the London Riots 2011

  • Iris Dzudzek
Chapter

Abstract

In August 2011 Britain is struck by the largest uprising and looting in post-war-history. Mainstream media and political commentators quickly agree: The ‘scum’, responsible for all this havoc and looting, needs to be ruthlessly wiped off the streets. The insurgents did not give any interpretation of their behavior, nor did they raise any political demands. While community activists, unions and critical journalists blamed austerity measures, neoliberalization and the racist stop-and-search-regime for the riots they did not speak on the insurgents’ behalf.

Drawing on the concept of ‘dis-/articulation’ this paper shows how possibilities for social and political engagement have decreased in late neoliberalism. It argues that in order to understand its political legacy the riots must be read as ‘spaces of appearance’ of political subjectivity.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to express my very great appreciation to the editors for their valuable and constructive suggestions during the writing of this research work. My grateful thanks are also extended to Michael Müller for all the discussions that shaped this article.

References

  1. AFP, and dpa. (2010). Britischer Haushalt: Cameron streicht radikal Jobs und Leistungen. Die Zeit. October 20.Google Scholar
  2. Altenried, M. (2012). Aufstände, Rassismus und die Krise des Kapitalismus. England im Ausnahmezustand. Münster: Edition Assemblage.Google Scholar
  3. Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Badiou, A. (2013). Das Erwachen der Geschichte. Wien: Passagen Verlag.Google Scholar
  5. Batty, D. (2011). Manchester police say sorry over tweet on woman who accepted looted clothes. The Guardian, August 13. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/aug/13/manchester-police-sorry-looter-sentence
  6. Bauman, Z. (2004). Wasted lives. Modernity and its outcasts. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  7. Bauman, Z. (2013). Consuming life. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  8. BBC News. (2011). Live-interview with Darcus Howe, 9:54 o’clock. August 9.Google Scholar
  9. Beveridge, R., & Koch, P. (2017a). The post-political trap? Reflections on politics, agency and the city. Urban Studies, 54(1), 31–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beveridge, R., & Koch, P. (2017b). What is (still) political about the city? Urban Studies, 54(1), 62–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2003). Der neue Geist des Kapitalismus. Konstanz: UVK.Google Scholar
  12. Bowcott, O., Carter, H., & Clifton, H. (2011). Facebook riot calls earn men four-year jail terms amid sentencing outcry. The Guardian, August 16. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/aug/16/facebook-riot-calls-men-jailed
  13. Bumke, C. (2012). Gegen Arme und Behinderte. Großbritanniens Premier für tiefe Einschnitte bei Sozialleistungen. Junge Welt, June 29.Google Scholar
  14. Butler, J. (2011). Bodies in alliance and the politics of the street. Transversal—EIPCP Multilingual Webjournal, 9. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from http://www.eipcp.net/transversal/1011/butler/en
  15. Butler, J. (2016). Anmerkungen zu einer performativen Theorie der Versammlung. Berlin: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  16. Butler, J., Laclau, E., & Žižek, S. (Eds.). (2000). Contingency, hegemony, universality. Contemporary dialogues on the left. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  17. Cameron, D. (2011a). PM statement on violence in England [online]. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/pm-statement-on-violence-in-england/
  18. Cameron, D. (2011b). PM’s speech on the fightback after the riots [online]. Retrieved from http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/pms-speech-on-the-fightback-after-the-riots/
  19. Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. (1982). The Empire strikes back: Race and racism in 70s Britain. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Daily Mail. (2011a). UK riots from London through to Manchester: Reckless immoral behaviour that shames Britain. September 2. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2024315/UK-riots-2011-Reckless-immoral-behaviour-shames-Britain.html
  21. Daily Mail. (2011b). Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters. August 10. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2024284/UK-riots-2011-Liberal-dogma-spawned-generation-brutalised-youths.html
  22. Derickson, K. D. (2017). Taking account of the ‘part of those that have no part’. Urban Studies, 54(1), 44–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dikeç, M. (2005). Space, politics and the political. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 23(2), 171–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dikeç, M. (2017). Disruptive politics. Urban Studies, 54(1), 49–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dodd, V. (2013). Minorities stopped disproportionally in decade after MacPherson report. The Guardian, April 22. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/apr/22/ethnic-minority-britons-stop-search-white
  26. Dorling, D. (2012). Inequality constitutes a particular place. Social & Cultural Geography, 13(1), 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dzudzek, I., & Müller, M. (2013). Der Lärm des Politischen. Die Londoner riots 2011 und ihre Politischen Subjekte. sub\urban—Zeitschrift für kritische Stadtforschun, 2, 17–40. Retrieved from http://www.zeitschrift-suburban.de/sys/index.php/suburban/article/view/94
  28. Ford Rojas, J.-P. (2011). London riots: Lidl water thief jailed for six months. The Telegraph, August 11. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8695988/London-riots-Lidl-water-thief-jailed-for-six-months.html
  29. Gentleman, A. (2011). Public sector cuts—The truth. The Guardian, March 25. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/mar/25/public-sector-cuts
  30. Gilroy, P. (2000). Between camps: Race, identity and nationalism at the end of the colour line. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Hersh, J. (2011). London Riots: BBC interview gets testy. Huffington Post, August 9. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/09/london-riots-bbc-interview_n_922857.html
  32. Home Affairs Committee. (2009). The MacPherson report—Ten years on. London: House of Commons Library.Google Scholar
  33. Laclau, E. (1990). New reflections on the revolution of our time. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  34. Lewis, P., Newburn, T., Taylor, M., Mcgillivray, C., Greenhill, A., Frayman, H. (2011) Reading the riots: Investigating England’s summer of disorder. London: The London School of Economics and Political Science and The Guardian. Retrieved November 19, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/series/reading-the-riots
  35. Lewis, P., Taylor, M., & Ball, J. (2011). Kenneth Clarke blames English Riots on a ‘broken penal system’. The Guardian, July 5. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/sep/05/kenneth-clarke-riots-penal-system
  36. MacPherson, W. (1999). The Stephen Lawrence inquiry. London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  37. Mains, S. (2011). Convicted London Rioters should loose all benefits. [online]. Retrieved April 5, 2013, from http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/
  38. Marchart, O. (2007). Post-foundational political thought. Political difference in Nancy Lefort Badiou and Laclau. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Marchart, O. (2010). Die politische Differenz. Zum Denken des Politischen bei Nancy, Lefort, Badiou, Laclau und Agamben. Berlin: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  40. McRobbie, A. (2010). Top Girls. Feminismus und der Aufstieg des neoliberalen Geschlechterregimes. Wiesbaden: Springer.Google Scholar
  41. McRobbie, A. (2012). Bad news from England [online]. Retrieved May 6, 2013, from http://www.angelamcrobbie.net/bad-news-from-england/
  42. Metropolitan Police London. (2012). Section 60 criminal justice and Public Order Act 1994. Standard Operating Procedures [online]. Retrieved May 6, 2013, from http://www.met.police.uk/foi/pdfs/priorities_and_how_we_are_doing/corporate/stop_search_s60_cjpo_sops_v3_2012.pdf
  43. Ministry of Justice. (2012). Statistical bulletin on the public disorder of 6th to 9th August 2011 [online]. Retrieved May 6, 2013, from http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/statistics/criminal-justice-stats/2011/august-public-disorder-stats-bulletin-230212.pdf
  44. Neate, R. (2011). Levi’s pulls ‘Riot’ ad after UK violence. Advertising campaign featuring young man squaring up to Riot police withdrawn following public outcry. The Guardian, August 11. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/aug/11/levis-riot-ad-uk-violence
  45. Odone, C. (2011). Immigrants love this country more than we do. The Telegraph, August 10. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8693558/Immigrants-love-this-country-more-than-we-do.html
  46. Parliament of the United Kingdom. (1994). Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. Section 60 [online]. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/60
  47. Povey, D., et al. (2011). Police Powers and Procedures England and Wales 2009 [online]. Retrieved May 6, 2013, from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/115792/hosb0711.pdf
  48. Quinn, B. (2011). David Starkey claims ‘the whites have become black’. The Guardian, August 13. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/aug/13/david-starkey-claims-whites-black
  49. Rancière, J. (2004). Disagreement. Politics and philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  50. Rawlinson, K. (2011). Facebook rioters who incited disorder have appeals rejected. The Independent, October 19. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/facebook-rioters-who-incited-disorder-have-appeals-rejected-2372578.html
  51. Rossi, U. (2017). Cities in global capitalism. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  52. Stratton, A., Elliott, L., & Ramesh, R. (2010) Spending review: George Osborne to save capital projects from cuts. The Guardian, October 17. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/oct/17/george-osborne-cuts-spending-review
  53. Strickland, P., & Berman, G. (2012). Police stop and search powers. London: House of Commons.Google Scholar
  54. Swyngedouw, E. (2017). Unlocking the mind-trap. Politicising urban theory and practice. Urban Studies, 54(1), 55–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. The Guardian. (2011). The UK riots and language: ‘Rioter’, ‘protester’ or ‘scum’? August 10. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/aug/10/uk-riots-language
  56. The Independent. (2011a). How gangs have taken the place of parents in urban ghettoes. Ian Burrell explores the backgrounds of the London rioters. August 10. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/how-gangs-have-taken-the-place-of-parents-in-urban-ghettoes-2335074.html
  57. The Independent. (2011b). Leading article: Britain has experienced its Katrina moment. At the weekend the levees burst and we have been witnessing the ugly results. August 10. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/leading-article-britain-has-experienced-its-katrina-moment-2334812.html
  58. The Telegraph. (2011). London Riots: Water cannons to be used on ‘sick society’. August 10. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8694401/London-riots-water-cannons-to-be-used-on-sick-society.html
  59. Townsend, M. (2012). Stop and search ‘racial profiling’ by police on the increase, claims study. The Guardian, January 14. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/jan/14/stop-search-racial-profiling-police
  60. Travis, A. (2012). England Riots: Almost 1000 people jailed so far, figures show. The Guardian, February 23. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/feb/23/almost-1000-jailed-riot-related-offences
  61. YouGov. (2011a). Riots: What the papers say [online]. Retrieved from http://yougov.co.uk/news/2011/08/19/riots-what-papers-say/
  62. YouGov. (2011b). YouGov England Riot Results: 9 out of 10 British adults say police should be able to be use water cannon on rioters and one third support use of live ammunition [online]. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://cdn.yougov.com/today_uk_import/yougov_england_riot_results_pdf_pr.pdf
  63. Žižek, S. (2000). The ticklish subject. The absent centre of political ontology. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  64. Žižek, S. (2011). Shoplifters of the world unite. London Review of Books, 19. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from http://www.lrb.co.uk/2011/08/19/slavoj-zizek/shoplifters-of-the-world-unite

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iris Dzudzek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human GeographyGoethe-UniversityFrankfurt a.M.Germany

Personalised recommendations