How riots spread between cities: introducing the police pathway

Drury, John, Stott, Clifford, Ball, Roger, Barr, Dermot, Bell, Linda, Reicher, Stephen and Neville, Fergus (2021) How riots spread between cities: introducing the police pathway. Political Psychology. pp. 1-19. ISSN 0162-895X

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Waves of riots are politically and psychologically significant national events. The role of police perceptions and practices in spreading unrest between cities has been neglected in previous research, even though the police are significant actors in these events. We examined the role of police interventions in the spread of rioting to one English city in August 2011 by triangulating multiple data sources and analyzing police accounts and community-participant interviews. Rioting in other cities had relatively little direct influence in the community, but it led to heightened vigilance in the police. The resultant police mobilization inadvertently created a large gathering in a local community with a history of hostile relations with police. Police attempts to disperse the crowd affected many more people than those originally intending to riot, leading to collective conflict. These findings support a new theoretical account of the role of policing in riot spread. Complementing existing accounts of diffusion, our study helps explain how self-fulfilling prophecy can operate to spread conflict between cities.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Riots, Social identity, Social influence, Empowerment, Police, Civil unrest
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2021 07:28
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 10:19

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Beyond contagion: Social identity processes in involuntary social influenceG1842ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/N01068X/1