After the ‘riots’ in England during August 2011 I was asked by Dr Sara Gonzales at the excellent School of Geography at the University of Leeds if I would speak on this topic in the School’s seminar programme. So I put together a slide-show and delivered the talk in October 2011. Afterwards, Dave Ronalds, editor of the journal ‘parallax’ asked me to write it up for his journal in an edition which he’d themed under the rubric of “Losing It”. I hesitated, because I don’t want to write any more in the style imposed nowadays by most academic journals.
But Dave was so open to my suggestion, and such a seductive writer of emails, that I worked up this article for him. I mention all this because it’s pretty unusual, in my experience, to get this sort of thing published in the academic factory. It’s part autobiography, part reflection on how my theorisation of ‘riot’ has changed since 1975, and part plea for recognition of the possibility that, alongside the me-me-me abjected consumerism of the smash and grab expeditions of the summer of 2011, there might have been something more recognisably radical going on. I want us to think of this activity as ‘violent urban protest’. In this case the protest might be less significant than the violence and the urban, but I think that these events were not simply mindless consumerism.
(Information on ‘parallax’ and the edition in which this article appeared (in 2012) is inserted into the downloadable text.)