Tottenham was reported to have the first incident of rioting and looting. The youth were accused of taking advantage of the situation when they discovered that there was only a small number of police, who were not be present at all the areas where the riot broke out. (Euronews 2011)As the news of the riot in Tottenham spread via social network, other areas in London were affected by violence and looting. The other areas included Greater Manchester (The Guardian 2011)The riots resulted in injuries to dozens of civilians as well as police officers who wereat the scenes. There was a total of five deaths. (The British Journal of Criminology 2015)The rebellion occurred over a period of four nights, which started in London before spreading to other cities, including Salford.The 2011 riots that had occurred, were said to be the biggest civil disorder in Britain in more than a decade. In the House of Commons meeting that had taken place after the riot, the emotion that was portrayed was anger. The majority of the members demanded for the rioters to be severely punished for their actions. (Scott 2011)The riot in 2011 was the most recent in a long history of riots and is said to have similar aspects to earlier riots, such as the riot in Moss side in 1981 and Broadwater in the 1980s.Scott (2011) explained how existing psychological theories and research can be used to understand why riots occur. Having an understanding of the factors that are involved can help the government. Therefore, police will have knowledge on how to control a riot and how to prevent one in the future. .Scott (2011) argued that there is often a triggering event that occurs before a riot breaks out.The community labelled this as hate crime and accused the police of being racist, which caused a riot to break out. The riot in 2011 was said to have been triggered by the death of Mark Duggan; a coloured man who was the father of four. The news of his death spread to all members of the community and they were made aware of the fact that he was shot down by the police. (Scott 2011)The case has said to have ignitedthe feeling of anger from the community. The treatment of the police on coloured people was said to have been a key factor in the communities resentment towards them..(Riddell 2011)In August 2011, the relatives of Mark Duggan held a protest to demand justice for his death. (BBC 2011). The protest began peacefully, but later became violent as the protesters were not satisfied with the police’s explanation.Other examples of riots occurring because of a triggering event include the Broadwater Farm riot in 1985 and the Brixton riot in 1985.
1985, police raided the home of an African-Carribean women called Cynthia
Jarrett. She collapsed and was pronounced dead at the hospital. (4WardEver
riot had started when a group of young men held a protest outside the police
station, demanding an explanation for the death of Cynthia Jarrett. One in ten
of the coloured youths were taken in by the police for questioning. (4WardEver
coloured women, called Cherry Groce was shot by the police during a search. Due
to this, she became paralysed from the waist down. The response of this was
colored people looting and rioting. The
community was angry as the police officer who was responsible for this incident
was found not guilty. (Maher 2012)73%
of the rioters were stopped and searched in 2010. (The Guardian 2011)
one rioter stated “Young black boys are always at the brunt.”
(The Guardian 2011)The
Guardian found that the police treated the rioters in a
degrading way when strip-searching and stopping them. (The Guardian
2011) they also found that discontentment with the police was one of the riots
shows that prior to the shooting of Mark Duggan, there were feelings of anger
towards the police. However,
it can be argued that Scott’s (2011) explanation on triggering events is not
sufficient enough to explain the magnitude of the riot and it ignores other
social conditions such as poverty and unemployment.The
examples given supports Scott’s (2011) argument and provides evidence for his
psychological explanation on why the England 2011 riot occurred. The evidence
illustrates that riots are the communities response to an racial incident that
was carried out by police. One
of the questions that was asked after the riot had ended was ‘Did youth
unemployment cause the England riots?’ (Simpskin
psychological explanation is unemployment. An
unemployed youth, who feels detached from society, is ready to riot. Critics
argue that unemployment is the underlying cause of the 2011 riot rather than
the supposed trigger event (Simpskin 2012)MP Dianne
argued that the young people that were involved in the riot in 2011 felt that
they had no place in society. She argued that youth unemployment and the low
number of opportunities for young people in deprived areas could be cause of
riot is said to have simply been an explosion of anger among bored teens who
lack motivation and a
police and court’s arrest records show that the majority of the rioters were
young, poor and unemployed. 17% (28% in London) of the rioters were students
(Home office 2011), who were frustrated of not being able to get a job.The
statistics support the theory that there is a link between unemployed people
and riots.They argues
that poorer parents working long hours can lead to psychological problems such
as lack of family. (Sutton and Douglas 2013)Individuals
have childhoods that involve self-discipline may not respond to their poverty
status compared to individuals who have not been so fortunate to have a
and Douglas (2013) argued that the relationship between an individual’s poverty
an the likelihood that they would participate in riots is dependent on their
family upbringing. The
effect of an individual’s poverty on their rioting behavior, is moderated by
their upbringing. Sutton and Douglas
(2013) argue that poverty and being from a dysfunctional family increases the
chances of rioting.However
poverty is a bigger factor than a dysfunctional family.
(Sutton and Douglas 2013)Mediation
(relationship between two variables is explained by the third) and Moderation (happens
relationship between two variables is dependent on a third variable)
can happen at the same time and may help understand the causes for the 2011
England riot. (Sutton and Douglas 2013)As
poverty increases, so does the extent of family dysfunction, which in turn
article by social forces examined the residential addresses of 1.620 rioters,
who were arrested in the 2011 England riots. (Biggs 2015). According to a
number of scholars and politicians, rioters were motivated by the rising
inequality, as they exploited an opportunity to steal goods.Biggs
(2015) found that in London, the rioters tended to come from the poorest of
neighborhoods, which included unemployment and overcrowded housing. •Sutton and Douglas
(2013) explained that in social psychology, there is typically more than one
cause that contributes to an incident.•The England 2011 riot
might be the product of the frustration among individuals in poverty and
unemployment as Briggs (2015) found that poverty is almost always linked to
unemployment. •In some cases,
multiple causes of an individuals behavior can affect them at the same
time, combining to be a powerful force
that shapes the way they act.Causes can combine in many ways and
sometimes interact with one another”The
effect of one cause, like poverty, on an outcome such as rioting may depend on
the presence, or absence or extent of another cause, such as a dysfunctional
upbringing.” (Sutton and Douglas 2013 pg. 4)There
are many different causes that could have contributed to the riot in England
that “Men are quick to aspire beyond their social means and quick to anger
when those means prove inadequate, but slow to accept their limitations” (Gurr
1970 pg 58). When men fail to reach their aspirations, they become frustrated,
which leads to aggression.Gurr
(1970) defines relative deprivations as the tension between an individuals
state and what they believe they can achieve. People join protests because they
feel deprived, relative to the other people in the group. This
hypothesis, which was brought forward by Dollard et al (1939) is based on the
catharsis explanation. Freud believed that the only way to reduce and release
aggression was engaging in an activity. Dollard
(1939) stated that when an individual experiences frustration, it leads to
aggression. He argues that the aggression is a cathartic release on the feeling
of frustration. Alternatively,
Berkowitz (1969) argues that frustration does not always lead to aggression. If
certain cues, such as weapons are available, aggression will be triggered.The first
defense mechanism that can be used is sublimation, which is when individuals
use their aggression in activities such as sport. The second mechanism is
displacement, which is when an individual directs their aggression onto
something or someone else.Dollard’s
(1939) psychodynamic theory proposes that all individuals have ego defense
mechanisms to help protect themselves. The
London school of economics and the Guardian conducted a study on 270 rioters.
They found through interviews that the riots were triggered by “widespread anger
and frustration at the way police engage with communities’ (Lewis et al 2011,
the rioters mentioned the intense frustration the the way the members of
the community are treated by the police. Mostly coloured people are subjected
to stop and search and this was identified as a key factor of riots. (Riddell
Singleton, who is a university lecturer, analysed the rioters addresses by
overlapping them with the poverty indicators map, which breaks down the United
Kingdom into smaller, geographical areas.He found
that the majority of the rioters were from poor neighborhoods, with 41% living
in the top 10% of the most deprived
areas in the United Kingdom. (The Guardian 2011)66%
of neighborhoods where the rioters lived had gotten poorer between 2007 and
2010 (The Guardian 2011)Singletons
findings are backed up with research that was published by the institute of
public policy research. The institute studies the relationship between poverty
and deprivation and the areas where looting and violence took place.Researchers
that child poverty and youth unemployment levels were significantly higher in
almost all the worst- affected areas. (The Guardian 2011)BBC
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