Urban Uprisings: The Troubled Relationship Between Citizens and Police in France, the UK and the USA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Violent outbursts in Paris (2005), London (2011), and Ferguson (2014) illustrate the problematic and disturbing relationship between citizens and police in the ‘West’. While these episodes are often portrayed as ‘apolitical’ and ‘criminal’ in media and political debates, they are in the academic literature predominantly seen as (unarticulated) forms of political protests against structural inequalities. Building on this political perspective, I will first argue that the interplay between structural, police, and ‘private’ violence is at the core of these urban uprisings. Subsequently, I will identify four common factors that contributed to the onset and legitimization of collective violence in Paris, London, and Ferguson: an emotive and symbolically significant incident, often with a young inhabitant of a marginalized neighbourhood as protagonist; police involvement; unclarity and pre-violence rumours; and pre-existing us-them divides. In the conclusion, I will emphasize the importance and need of a systemic approach towards police reform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-452
Number of pages13
JournalPolicing: A Journal of Policy and Practice
Volume15
Issue number1
Early online date2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

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