Rioting and the Politics of Crisis

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Karim MURJI, University of West London, London, United Kingdom
This paper draws on selected explanatory accounts of rioting that occurred in England in 2011 for the purpose of illustrating the ways in which scholarly critiques frame quite different senses of what kind of 'crisis' the riots represented. On one side the riots are understood within a 'race and policing' frame placing in a line of continuity with events across time and space and in an on-going crisis of racial subjugation. In direct contrast, another side treats the riots as a crisis of post-politics, in which nihilism has replaced purposive political action. While different types of politics are centred in both approaches, they differ remarkably in relation to racism, with the latter treating race as epiphenomenal. These frames are instances of how critical scholarly understandings draw on events, and it is argued they miss potentially far reaching senses of 'crisis' that can be drawn out of some aspects of rioting.