London's Burning: LSE Brain Trust on England Riots

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 8/12/2011 12:01:00 AM
[Cue the Clash's "London's Burning" for a trip up and down memory lane.] I'll take a breather here and insource blogging material for this post from various members of the LSE's brain trust. Certainly, a huge amount of intellectual firepower can be marshalled here from various academics working on related topic areas such as public policy, social exclusion, migration, urban studies and even communication studies given the prominent role assigned to social media in organizing the riots. They have now established a separate page on the official LSE blog with related posts; below are the titles of those to date:
  1. Polling indicates support for curfews, water cannons, plastic bullets, and bringing in the army to deal with rioters (Anthony Wells)
  2. What further options might work in boosting the police capacity to handle urban disorders and riot emergencies? The pros and cons of a bigger police reserve, curfews, and army deployments (Danielle Moran, Amy Mollett and Chris Gilson)
  3. Rather than simply reading the rioters the Riot Act, we must ensure that lessons are learned from this week’s violence. A credible enquiry is essential (Barnie Choudhury)
  4. The crude moralism that characterises looters and rioters as ‘scum’ is evidence that space for political debate about the causes of things is becoming dangerously limited (Mary Evans)
  5. David Cameron may finally have found community spirit amongst the riot clean up, but recent events spell the end for his Big Society fantasy (Amy Mollett)
  6. The vulnerability of the British state – deeper lessons from the urban riots (Patrick Dunleavy)
  7. The violence on London’s streets is less political and less structured than has been the case in Northern Ireland. It is the result of decades of social and economic deprivation and inequality (Bill Kissane)
  8. Separating out whether individual or community factors drive rioting is difficult. We should be very wary about believing anyone who claims to know otherwise (Henry Overman)
Interesting opinions, though I would obviously liked to have seen more diversity in where they came from given the subject matter.