Posted on 03/07/2012
Are the riots that swept across London and parts of Britain last summer a symbol of a transformed society? That is the question that will be debated at a seminar hosted by the Department of Social Work at Royal Holloway, University of London next week.
David Cameron described the London Riots as 'criminality, pure and simple' and identified the main cause as 'a general 'moral decline' in society. In contrast, Tony Blair claimed that the riots 'aren't symptomatic of society at large'. He argued: 'They are an absolutely specific problem that requires a deeply specific solution'. However, despite their apparently different analysis, Cameron and Blair have refused an explanation of the riots in terms of the current transformations of society.
Professor Fabian Kessl, who is currently researching the perspectives of public services on the 'London Riots 2011' as an Academic Visitor at Royal Holloway’s Department of Social Work, points out that while there is a lot of discussion about the riots, much of this avoids arguments which could connect the riots to fundamental transformations in the British society. He said: “Interestingly public services, such as youth work or youth services, have been very silent on the riots. Could it be that the transformation in this area has already established a situation in which the public services don't look any more on the societal background?”
The seminar will explore what it could look like to take the riots as a phenomenon – albeit one wrought with contradictions – reflecting the transformation of the public, the welfare state and new ways of shaping human relations, all of which have emerged over the last decades.
The 'London Riots 2011' – Symbol and Expression of the Transformation of Society?
A seminar hosted by the Department of Social Work
Monday, 16 July 2012
Royal Holloway, University of London, 11 Bedford Square, Room G3
To book a free place, please contact Liz Hudson.