A social identity model of riot diffusion: from injustice to empowerment in the 2011 London riots

Drury, John, Stott, Clifford, Ball, Roger, Reicher, Stephen, Neville, Fergus, Bell, Linda, Biddlestone, Mikey, Choudhury, Sanjeedah, Lovell, Max and Ryan, Caoimhe (2019) A social identity model of riot diffusion: from injustice to empowerment in the 2011 London riots. European Journal of Social Psychology. ISSN 0046-2772

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that riots spread across multiple locations, but has not explained underlying psychological processes. We examined rioting in three locations during the August 2011 disorders in England to test a social identity model of riot diffusion. We triangulated multiple sources to construct a narrative of events; and we analysed interviews with 68 participants to examine experiences. In line with the model, we found evidence for two pathways of influence: “cognitive” and “strategic”. For some participants, previous rioting was highly self-relevant, and shared identity was the basis of their subsequent involvement. For others, previous rioting was empowering because it demonstrated the vulnerability of a common enemy (the police). In each location, interaction dynamics mediated the link between initial perceptions and collective action. The utility of this social identity approach is that it is able to account for both the boundaries and the sequence of urban riot diffusion.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Riots, social identity, social influence, contagion, collective empowerment, collective action
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2020 08:52
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2020 09:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/89133

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