In a comparative study drawing on material from the United States and Britain, this book, first published in 1992, examines how various types of industrial, political, urban and sectarian disorder occur. In the early 1990s public disorder returned to the top of the political agenda, and yet was consistently met with confusion and misunderstanding. Public discussion was superficial and emotive, contributing little helpful enlightenment and creating no prospect of sensible policy change. This book presents the ‘flashpoints’ model, to explain that public disorder is most likely to occur where a group perceives that its rights are being violated or denied. The model is demonstrated in a selection of vivid case studies which are both international and historical in scope, covering British and American inner-city riots, sports spectator violence, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In particular it traces the growth of police powers and assesses how effective democratic control over police behaviour actually is. It also considers the assertion that media coverage can have an inflammatory effect on public disorder.
Table of Contents
1. The Anatomy of a Riot: the ‘Battle of Trafalgar’ 2. Disorderly Demonstrations 3. The American Urban Riots 4. The British Urban Riots 5. Strike Violence 6. Football Hooliganism 7. The ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland 8. Media Representations of Public Disorder 9. Contemporary Policing and its Democratic Control 10. Conclusions