REPRESENTATION OF YOUTHS Contemporary Case Study LONDON RIOTS
AIMS To introduce the context of the London Riots. To look at the timeline of events and analyse press reports. Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk -14436499 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_England_riots
DAVID GAUNTLETT“Identities are not „given‟ but are constructed and negotiated.” Consider this quote when looking at the collective identity of youths through the case study of the London riots. How is the identity of youths constructed by the press? Is there any opportunity for this representation to be „negotiated‟ between producer and audience?
THURSDAY 4 TH AUGUST 18:15 BST - Mark Duggan, 29, is shot dead by police at Ferry Lane, Tottenham. The death occurs during an operation where specialist firearm officers and officers from Operation Trident, the unit which deals with gun crime in the African and Caribbean communities, are attempting to carry out an arrest. Mr Duggan is a passenger in a minicab and is shot after an apparent exchange of fire. A police officers radio is later found to have a bullet lodged in it. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announces it will investigate the incident and later says it believes two shots were fired by police. It also confirms that an illegal firearm was recovered from the scene.
MARK DUGGEN Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old black man, was shot on 4 th August 2011 by police attempting to arrest him in Tottenham, North East London, England. He was suspected of planning a revenge attack following the fatal stabbing of his cousin and had a gun with him. He died from a gunshot wound to the chest. The reaction of some people to the apparent circumstances of his death, a public demonstration and an attack on police vehicles, were contributory factors to a riot in Tottenham, which escalated into widespread riots, looting and arson in London
„LONDON DISTURBANCES‟ This is the first reports of the disturbances in Tottenham. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EggiswpsrY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4D6BZHBtVo&feature=rel ated
SATURDAY 6 TH AUGUST A series of disturbances by people in Tottenham in Haringey (8.8% unemployed) followed the protest march on 6 August. The rioting occurred shortly after about 120 people marched from the Broadwater Farm estate to Tottenham Police Station via the High Road.
SUNDAY 7 TH AUGUST 19:45 BST - Around 100 hooded youths gather outside Enfield Police Station . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEy72NUvwCw 22:30 BST - Reports on Twitter of a police presence at Oxford Circus in Londons West End. Police later say a mob of around 50 people damaged property in the area.
MONDAY 8 TH AUGUST 23:27 BST - Rioting is taking place in Ealing, west London, where the windows of a Tesco supermarket have been put out, a car is on fire and rubbish is strewn in public areas. There is also a fire in Haven Green park, opposite Ealing Broadway Tube. 23:30 BST - About 40 vehicles were damaged in a night of violence in Nottingham described by one senior officer as "motivated" by the London riots. Most of the incidents happened in the St Anns area, but police foiled an attempt to break into the Victoria Centre in the city centre. The trouble lasted about three hours.
TUESDAY 9 TH AUGUST 09:43 BST - London Fire Brigade says it faced its busiest night in recent history. The brigades 999 control centre answered 2,169 calls between 18:00 BST on Monday and 07:19 BST on Tuesday. This is around 15 times the normal rate of calls the brigade would expect on an average day. 09:55 BST - The Football Association confirms that Englands friendly against Holland at Wembley tomorrow has been called off because of the rioting in London. 11:06 BST - David Cameron makes his first statement outside Number 10 after cutting short his holiday to return to London. He announces a massive increase in police numbers and the recall of Parliament.
WEDNESDAY 10 TH AUGUST 09:13 BST - A 21-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of starting a fire at the House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon - destroyed during Monday nights rioting in London. 11:15 BST - Prime Minister David Cameron makes a statement from Downing Street, paying tribute to police and the emergency services. He warns that more people will be arrested and charged. He said: “We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets” Mr Cameron also said there were contingency plans for water cannon to be used at 24 hours notice. 13:43 BST - Ministry of Justice statement says there are enough prison places for all those sentenced to custody. The Met Police release a second tranches of images of people they would like to speak to about the recent disorder. Greater Manchester Police release a batch of CCTV images of suspects wanted in connection with the rioting and looting.
THURSDAY 11 TH AUGUST 11:30 BST - Prime Minister David Cameron makes a statement to MPs in which he admits there are questions to be answered over the shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham last week. He calls the rioting "criminality, pure and simple“ and says the courts will continue sitting for as long as necessary to deal with the extra cases. He says police will be given powers to force people to remove masks and scarves covering their faces where there are reasonable grounds to believe they are planning criminal activity. Mr Cameron also announces a £10m recovery scheme to make areas safe and clean again. 11:55 BST - Labour leader Ed Miliband calls for an inquiry to look at the deeper causes of the "wanton vandalism and looting". He says the riots have been a “stark reminder” of the need for police on the streets and he calls on the government to rethink cuts in police spending.
FRIDAY 12 TH AUGUST 00:22 BST - The Metropolitan Police say 1,103 people have now been arrested in connection with the riots and 654 people have been charged. Greater Manchester Police said they had so far made 147 arrests and more than 70 people had already gone through the courts. Merseyside Police said they had made 77 arrests and charged 45 people. West Midlands Police said 445 people had been arrested and Nottinghamshire Police said they had arrested 109 people and charged 69. The night passes off peacefully - with officers still on the streets in large numbers.
WHAT CAUSED THE LONDON RIOTS? Suggested Contributory Factors Poor relations with police Social exclusion Family Breakdown Government cuts Unemployment Gang Culture Criminal opportunism Moral decay at the top Failure of the penal system
POOR RELATIONS WITH THE POLICE/FAILURE OF THE PENAL SYSTEM Professor Gus John from the University of London has argued that the tactical use of frequent "Stop and search", particularly of young black men, has caused resentment of the police in the black community. Kenneth Clarke, writing in The Guardian, described the riots in part as "an outburst of outrageous behaviour by the criminal classes". He drew attention to the statistic that almost three -quarters of the adults who had been charged with offences related to the disorder already had a criminal record. Clarke characterised this as the legacy of "a broken penal system", one that did not have a good record for preventing reoffending. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ift78O95Bw&feature=rela ted
SOCIAL EXCLUSION Tony Blair writing in The Observer, stated that the riots were not caused by a broken society, but due to a group of young, alienated, disaffected youth who are outside the social mainstream and who live in a culture at odds with any canons of proper behaviour, he said that this is found in virtually every developed nation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6 - XAK6kuoFI&feature=related
FAMILY BREAKDOWN Lack of male role models. "Like the overwhelming majority of youth offenders behind bars, these gang members have one thing in common: no father at home.“ Daily Telegraph http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeydfZQKbQI&feature=rel ated
GOVERNMENT CUTS Scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance, removing of funding for courses where the student already has an equal or lower level qualification and trebling of university tuition fees, combined with high youth unemployment has placed the British youth between a rock and a hard place alienating and angering the youth population. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNeYnWL3D9A&feature=r elated
UNEMPLOYMENT Tottenham has the highest unemployment rate in London and the eighth highest in the United Kingdom
GANG CULTURE In a Newsnight discussion on 12 th August, historian David Starkey blamed black gangster culture, saying that it had influenced youths of all races. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH5HAg7RTKk Watch from 1.41 minutes
CRIMINAL OPPORTUNISM Some argue that motivation for rioters targeting the city centre was not anger, but greed.
MORAL DECAY AT THE TOP Rich and powerful generating anger among the British population. Daily Telegraph cited the MPs expenses scandal, bankers bonuses, and the phone hacking scandal as setting poor examples.
TASK 1 Collect and embed examples of news coverage of the London riots from YouTube. For each news report discuss how youths are represented. Who do the reporters interview? What images are used in the broadcast? What does this suggest about representation of the riots? Is the broadcast biased? Are youths given a fair voice? Collate a selection of stories and images from online news reports from broadsheet and tabloid press and post onto blog. Analyse the images and sensationalist/emotive language used. How does the article construct representation of youth identity? Is the broadcast biased? Are youths given a fair voice?
LONDON RIOTS CASE STUDY WRITE UP1) Overview of Contemporary Case Study 1) What were the context of the riots? 2) What were the reasons given as to why youths were involved in the riots? 3) Were youths given a fair and unbiased representation in the press coverage of the riots?2) Applying Theory 1) How can the coverage of the London riots be understood in relation to the ideas of Stan Cohen? 2) David Gauntlett stated that “Identities are not „given‟ but are constructed and negotiated.” 3) From the research which you have conducted into the coverage of the London Riots, to what extent is the representation of the collective identity of youths constructed by the press? Consider for and against argument.