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"The best three days of my life”: pleasure, power and alienation in the 2011 riots

Newburn, Tim, Deacon, Rachel, Diski, Beka, Cooper, Kerris, Grant, Maggie and Burch, Alex (2016) "The best three days of my life”: pleasure, power and alienation in the 2011 riots. Crime, Media, Culture. ISSN 1741-6590

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1741659016667438


This article considers one the less frequently 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 the 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 aanything else is a pervading sense of ‘alienation’ among many of those involved in the disorder.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2016 10:36
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 15:32

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