From Joshua Clover’s Riot. Strike. Riot. pg 15:

The strike is the form of collective action that 

1) struggles to set the price of labor power (or the conditions of labor, which is much the same thing: the amount of misery that can be purchased by the pound); 

2) features workers appearing in their role as workers;

3) unfolds in the context of capitalist production, featuring its interruption at the source via the downing of tools, cordoning of the factory floor, etc. 

The riot is the form of collective action that

1) struggles to set the price of market goods (or their availability, which is much the same thing, for the question is similarly one of access); 

2) features participants with no necessary kinship but their dispossession; 

3) unfolds in the context of consumption, featuring the interruption of commercial circulation.

From Joshua Clover’s Riot. Strike. Riot pg 2. He argues that the return of the riot reverses a long term trend observed by Charles Tilley, in which the riot had given way to the strike as the foremost tactic in socially available repertoires of contention:

As the overdeveloped nations have entered into sustained, if uneven, crisis, the riot has returned as the leading tactic in the repertoire of collective action. This is true both in the popular imaginary and the realm of data (insofar as such matters give of statistical comparison). Regardless of perspective, riots have achieved an intransigent social centrality. Labor struggles have in the main been diminished to ragged defensive actions, while the riot features increasingly as the central figure of political antagonism, a specter leaping from insurrectionary debates to anxious governmental studies to glossy magazine covers.

Three years have passed since the ‘riots’ that shook England following the shooting of Mark Duggan at the hands of the Metropolitan police. But as Ferguson burns across the Atlantic following the shooting of Michael Brown and yet another inquiry exposes the  endemic corruption within the Metropolitan Police force here in the UK, it is perhaps an appropriate moment to revisit the legacy of the 2011 UK riots.

The Sociology Department at the University of Manchester, in association with the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centreand the Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies (REPS) network is delighted to invite you to a screening of Fahim Alam’s documentary,Riots Reframed. (

The film pieces together the stories of those involved, whose voices all but disappeared amongst the moral panic in the media and amongst politicians and policy makers in the immediate aftermath of the uprisings.  Furthermore, the film also looks at the experiences of those who experienced the sharp end of the UK ‘justice’ system afterwards.

Following the film there will be a panel discussion


> Fahim Alam – Director of Riots Reframed

> Dr Malcolm James – Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Sussex University editor of Behind the Riots series for the Guardian and author of “Mark Duggan and Britain’s post colonial politics of death”

> Professor Lou Kushnick – Emeritus Professor University of Manchester, founder and director of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and author of Race, class & struggle: essays on racism and inequality in Britain, the US, and Western Europe

> Elisa Pieri – PhD researcher at the University of Manchester (in Sociology and at the Manchester Architecture Research Centre), whereshe studies security and the city centre.

> Dr Sivamohan Valluvan – Lecturer in Sociology, University of Manchester – contributor to The Guardian’s Behind the Riots series and co author of Critical Consumers Run Riot in Manchester

The event will start at 5.00 at Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square, Manchester on Wednesday 17 September 2014.

Refreshments will be provided.
Please circulate widely.

I’ll add this special issue of Sociological Research Online to my collection Sociological Imagination and UK Riots.