In this dissertation, I explore the political meaning of disruptive, and even violent, interventions of youth with a migrant background in the public domain of France and the Netherlands. I relate two qualitative case studies– carried out in one French and one Dutch neighborhood– to a theoretical analysis of the political potential of seemingly senseless events of civil unrest. The urban areas where my research takes place can be characterized as deprived neighborhoods, because of their rundown physical appearance and the range of socio-economic problems inhabitants have to deal with. These areas, and other comparable “problem neighborhoods” have the reputation of being a breeding ground for criminality and aggressive street culture. Urban riots and other spontaneous disturbances of the public order which start in such areas, and during which commodity goods are stolen, public property is demolished and fellow inhabitants are harassed, seem to lack any political sense. Other than countercultural or protest groups with a clear political ideology, like social movements and identity-based interest groups, the youth involved in such events are not seen as political agents, because no spokespeople are put forward to address the press and no banners are carried. The emergence of such spontaneous disorder is often ascribed by the media and politicians to the individual deviancy of the young people involved, as became explicitly apparent in the reception of the riots around Paris in 2005 and the riots around London in 2012. In the first reactions to these events, young rioters were criminalized and pathologized, while the relation to the social and political structures of the society in which they are embedded was often overlooked.
|Original language||American English|
|Award date||25 Nov 2013|
|Publication status||Published - 25 Nov 2013|