Monday, August 29, 2011

Commentary on the Riots in England

Riot On! The British Looting Tradition. From doodledubz collective

Not surprisingly, when riots happen in London and other major English cities, they attract plenty of commentary by the 'heavy-hitters'. This is partly because they were significant events involving thousands of people over several days, and it's partly because events in London are assigned 'global significance' thanks to London's pre-eminent position in the network of capitalist 'global cities'.

So, here's some links to commentary pieces on the riots in by some high-ish profile left-leaning academic folks, mostly sourced via other blogs and lists. I think I found the Gilroy and Hatherley pieces the most interesting, probably because they are the ones that are most engaged with some of the actual places where this stuff went down...

-- Zygmunt Bauman says the riots are "consumerism coming home to roost" here ...

-- George Ciccariello-Mayer makes a case against the denigration of those involved as an irrational mob here ...

-- Richard Florida argues that riots are "a feature, not a bug, of cities in the global era" here. His solution: extend the promise of creativity to all ... of course! (OK, not so left-ish I know, but very interesting to see Florida rage against the inequality of the "corporate remaking of cities"...

-- Paul Gilroy considers the differences in context between the 1981 and 2011 riots here ...

-- David Harvey argues that the problem is not feral kids but feral capitalism here ...

-- Owen Hatherley writes a really interesting piece on the urban geography of it all here, noting the particular geographies on inequality in English cities where rich and poor are spatially proximate to each other, and yet don't really live in the same 'place'...

-- Owen Jones argues that the conservative right are likely to be strengthened by the riots here ...

-- John Keane situates the riots within a wider malaise of representative democracy undercut by the marketplace here ...

-- Naomi Klein discusses the "nighttime robbery" of the riots alongside the "daylight robbery" of privatisation, bail-outs, bonuses and austerity here ...

-- Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson (authors of The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone) respond critically to the notion that family breakdown is a causal factor in the events here ...

-- Nina Power writes on the context that should not be ignored here, and on how David Cameron is making things worse here ...

-- Richard Sennett and Saskia Sassen make the link between budget cuts and broken windows here ...

-- McKenzie Wark gives a Situationist take on the logic of riots in the society of the spectacle here ...

-- Slavoj Zizek argues that both conservative and liberal interpretations fail to see what's really going on here, suggesting that the enigma of the riots is that they "demanded nothing" ...

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