Background reading on the English riots

Two of the best pieces I read on the recent English riots were by Owen Hatherley and Owen Jones. Their recently published books (both with Verso) are really worth reading as background to the context in which these events took place. I’ve just finished reading Hatherley’s A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain which is a scathing indictment of the embodiment of capitalism and New Labour in architectural form. And I read Jones’s Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class last week. Jones was on Newsnight in the notorious David Starkey discussion, later describing it as ‘Enoch Powell meets Alan Partridge‘ which is about right.

Also worth a look are pieces by David Harvey, and Richard Sennett and Saskia Sassen, and of course the ‘virtual theme issue’ of Society and Space on ‘urban disorder and policing’ I put together.

Further suggestions would be welcome in the comments.

[Update: do look at the comments, which include some important pieces, and especially at Kurt Iveson's page of links here]

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3 Responses to Background reading on the English riots

  1. Stuart Schrader says:

    Three particularly good pieces I’ve read:
    1. http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/08/12/planet-of-slums-age-of-riots/
    2. http://www.lrb.co.uk/2011/08/19/slavoj-zizek/shoplifters-of-the-world-unite
    3. http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/666-mckenzie-wark-the-logic-of-riots

    While doing some archival research, I stumbled across an article from 1975 in the NY Times that noted that although discontent in the US was likely to spark riots, in Europe the working-class and the disfranchised did not seem apt to riot. I’m anxiously awaiting the follow-up article that reverses the claim. And then we all await the dissertation explaining it (maybe it’ll be mine?).

  2. Kurt says:

    Thanks for the links Stuart and all. I’ve compiled these and a bunch more over at Cities and Citizenship: http://citiesandcitizenship.blogspot.com/2011/08/commentary-on-riots-in-england.html

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