Riotous Citizens

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Riotous Citizens

This book is dedicated to our Parents, Brothers and Sisters Ethnic Conflict in Multicultural Britain PAUL BAGGUL

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This book is dedicated to our Parents, Brothers and Sisters

Riotous Citizens

Ethnic Conflict in Multicultural Britain


© Paul Bagguley and Yasmin Hussain 2008 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Paul Bagguley and Yasmin Hussain have asserted their moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the authors of this work. Published by Ashgate Publishing Limited Gower House Croft Road Aldershot Hampshire GU11 3HR England

Ashgate Publishing Company Suite 420 101 Cherry Street Burlington, VT 05401-4405 USA

Ashgate website: British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Riotous citizens : ethnic conflict in multicultural Britain 1. Riots - England - History - 21st century 2. Minorities England - Social conditions - 21st century 3. Crowds 4. England - Ethnic relations I. Bagguley, Paul II. Yasmin Hussain, 1970305.8'00942'09046 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bagguley, Paul. Riotous citizens : ethnic conflict in multicultural Britain / by Paul Bagguley and Yasmin Hussain. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7546-4627-3 (hardcover) 1. Ethnic conflict--Great Britain. 2. Riots--Great Britain. 3. Great Britain--Ethnic relations. 4. Great Britain--Race relations. I. Yasmin Hussain. II. Title. HN400.S62B34 2008 305.800942--dc22 ISBN 0-978-7546-4627-3


Contents List of Tables Preface

vii ix




Theorizing Crowds, Riots and Public Disorder



The Riots of 2001: An Overview and Comparison of Oldham, Burnley and Bradford



Accounts of How the Bradford Riot Began



Diversity, Motivations and Targets: The Dynamics of a Crowd of Citizens



‘Take Me to Your Leader’: Reflections on Power, ‘Race’ and the Politics of Rioting



‘Outsiders in Our Own Country’: The Interpersonal Consequences of Rioting



Disciplined and Punished: Strategic Repression and the Shaming of a Community



Citizenship, Generation and Ethnic Identity



The Emergence of Community Cohesion


Conclusion: Another Famous Victory?


Bibliography Index

179 191

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List of Tables Table 2.1

Age and ethnicity profile of those arrested for offences during disturbances in Burnley (percentages)

Table 4.1 Table 4.2

Defendants by place of residence (Carling data) Ages of those convicted of public order offences compared to Pakistani male population in Bradford

Table 7.1

Previous convictions of those arrested for offences committed during the 7th July 2001 riot

50 82 84 133

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Preface The events of the summer of 2001 have been largely neglected by academics. There are a few papers and book chapters, and these have been extremely important and invaluable to us. The lack of sustained academic analysis and reflection on the summer of 2001 is in stark contrast to the riots of the 1980s which have given rise to a substantial literature and arguably whole new schools of thought on racism, crowd behaviour and other issues. In comparison there has been relatively little critical academic work to counter-balance the official version of the 2001 events. The riots of the summer of 2001 marked a number of significant turning points in Britain’s troubled history of relationships between the white and ethnic minority communities. This period also marked the rise of the neo-fascist British National Party into a partially respectable electoral force in some localities, succeeding to an extent that had eluded their predecessors. The political and media reaction to the 2001 riots finally fixed into the national consciousness an image of young South Asian Muslim men as the new ‘enemy within’ – an image subsequently reinforced by political reactions to 9/11 and 7/7. They marked the beginning of the end of official multiculturalism, to be replaced by community cohesion as the formalized ideology adumbrated in the major investigations into the riots, that has become established as the framework for official policy and practice. Last but not least, the sentences handed down to the Bradford rioters were a shocking instance of New Labour’s dogma of being tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. The research reported here was completed with the support of the British Academy and the University of Leeds, two institutions that still value the traditional autonomy of the professional academic sufficiently to just let them pursue intellectual questions as long as their peers judge them to be of sufficient quality. Yunas Samad and Nick Crossley deserve a special mention for their support of our application for funding from the British Academy and subsequent interest in and encouragement of the project. Many of the arguments have appeared at various conferences or in previously published form, and the organizers of those conferences, the participants, journal editors, those who edited books and various nameless academic referees deserve a vote of thanks for their feedback on our work that has inevitably shaped our thoughts, as well as for their enthusiasm for what we were trying to say. Our early thoughts first saw the light of day at the 2003 sessions of Colin Barker’s now legendary series of conferences in Manchester: ‘Alternative Futures and Popular Protest’. Our thanks also go to Tahir Abbas who commissioned a chapter based on this research for his edited collection Muslim Britain: Communities Under Pressure. Our first thoughts on community cohesion emerged at a conference organized by Stephan Herbrechter and Mike Higgins which they kindly published in their edited book Returning (to) Communities. Theory, Culture and Political Practice of the Communal. Chapter 9 revises and expands work that previously appeared in that book, published by Rodopi of Amsterdam, and we would like to thank the editors


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and publisher for their permission to reproduce the material first published there. The editors of the journal Sociology published our ideas on citizenship and identity based on the work reported more extensively here. That paper was published in Sociology, Vol. 39 number 3, July 2005 by Sage Publications Ltd. It is available at: . We would like to take this opportunity to thank the editors and the publisher of Sociology for allowing us to reproduce sections of that original paper. Finally, and most recently, Dave Waddington, Mike King and Fabien Jobard kindly invited us to participate in their ESRC/CNRS Franco-British Collaborative Workshop: ‘A Comparative Analysis of Recent French and British Riots’, which provided a lively and stimulating context for the final preparation of the manuscript. Various people at Ashgate deserve a special mention for persevering with this project, when we suspect they thought it might never appear! The research reported in this book was in part supported by the British Academy, grant number SG-35152. Our most important debt of thanks is to the people who we interviewed from this study. Of course, none of the above can be held responsible for what follows. Census output is Crown copyright and is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.

Introduction In December 2007 Mohammed Ayub Sheikh, at the time aged 33, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his part in the Bradford riots of July 2001. It had taken the police over six years to track him down, and in the end it was he who gave himself up. At his trial he had pleaded guilty to riot, as the court was shown 20 minutes of police video of him throwing stones. He had no previous convictions before or since the riots. He was the last of the Bradford rioters to be jailed. In connection with those events of 7 July 2001, 300 were eventually arrested, 200 convicted for riot, with only one acquittal (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 22 December 2007). In 2001 Britain saw another summer of rioting in its cities, in Oldham and Burnley in May and June, and most seriously in Bradford, where up to 500 people were involved in riots over the weekend of 7–9 July. In Oldham on 26–29 May, around 500 people were involved, injuring two police officers and three members of the public, with damage estimated at £1.4 million. In the Burnley disturbances, about 400 were involved on 24–26 June, with 83 police officers and 28 members of the public injured, and damage estimated at over £0.5 million. The injured in Bradford included 326 police officers and 14 members of the public, with estimates of damage to property ranging up to £10 million (Amin, 2002; Bagguley and Hussain, 2003; Beynon and Kushnick, 2003; Denham, 2002: 7; Farrar, 2002; Kalra, 2002; Kundnani, 2001; Ray and Smith, 2004; Webster, 2003). There were other less serious disturbances in Bradford at Easter, in Leeds on 5 June and Stoke-on-Trent on 14–15 July. The focus of this book is on the disturbances in Bradford, generally seen as the most serious, and certainly for the local South Asian community the most severely punished. Academic accounts of the riots have emphasized several factors in their explanation. Whilst Amin (2002) places most weight on deprivation, segregation and the demands of ‘new generation’ South Asians, others such as Kalra (2002; 2003) place a greater emphasis on longstanding grievances against local manifestations of racism and the police. A central feature of the months before the riots were contested claims in the national and local media about the levels of racially motivated crime by South Asians against whites (Kalra, 2002; Ray and Smith, 2004). This led to increased mobilization by the British National Party (BNP) in Oldham and Burnley in the context of the 2001 local and general elections (Eatwell, 2003; Kundnani, 2001; Rhodes, 2006). In the aftermath of these, the most serious riots in Britain since 1985, there was the usual raft of official reports, where a central theme was citizenship and reasserting national belonging over and above ethnic identity. The official reports avoided attempts to explain the riots, and focused instead on the broader issues of segregation, social cohesion and proposals to instil a liberal conception of citizenship into the minds of South Asians. The problems of the northern towns became for a while a national media and political obsession, with the blame firmly laid at the door


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of South Asian Muslims (Cantle, 2001; Denham, 2002; Kalra, 2002). The state’s response to the riots was bifurcated between a national-level focus on community cohesion and a local criminal justice system response that has been highly repressive (Bagguley and Hussain, 2004; McGhee, 2003). Consequently, the former has had the potential to garner greater media and political attention than the latter. The local responses have been managed through central government steering and financial incentives. The criminal justice system’s response has entailed lengthy sentences, especially for those arrested for the Bradford riots (Carling et al., 2004). Although comparable to those of 1981 and 1985, in significant ways these riots were quite different from earlier years, and mark a new departure in Britain’s racial politics. The country has witnessed sequences of riots involving racial factors at various points in its history (Fryer, 1984: 376–81; Ramdin, 1987: 204–10; Rowe, 1998). The riots of 1981 and 1985 have been seen by subsequent commentators as community insurrections against the police. The antecedents on those occasions involved heavy policing of predominantly African-Caribbean communities. Furthermore, of particular relevance here was the ‘riot’ which took place in Manningham, Bradford on 10–12 June 1995, mainly involving South Asians. This was again popularly blamed on heavy policing, although the official report into the disorders simply blamed them on ‘anti-social’ individuals (Bradford Commission, 1996: 11). The riots of 2001 are more complex: whilst there are characteristics similar to those before where policing is involved, other factors have also emerged. There are both elements of 1950s-style race riots with South Asians and whites attacking each other’s properties, and collaboration between whites and South Asians confronting the police as a common adversary. Neo-fascist Mobilizations The riots of 2001 cannot be divorced from a context in which minority ethnic communities were alarmed by the mobilization of neo-fascists such as the BNP and the National Front (NF). The riots of 1958 were also related to neo-fascist mobilizations (Fryer, 1984: 378; Ramdin, 1987: 206–8; Rowe, 1998: 105–32). Ethnic minority communities in all the areas where violence erupted have had their lives marked by ongoing, mundane and persistent racism. It is important to note that the signs in some places were clear beforehand. The spread of unrest was linked to an increase in racial violence, the longstanding mistrust of and disillusionment with the police, the overt and taunting presence of the BNP and other far-right groups and the entrenched poverty and unemployment which existed within the cities (Ray and Smith, 2004). The role of the NF in provoking the riots was revealed in a Times report of the court appearance of ten of thirteen NF members arrested for provoking public disorder. They had marched through a multiethnic area of Oldham shouting racist abuse, chanting ‘rights for whites’ and bearing a Union Jack. All were from outside of Oldham. Addresses given in court were from Birmingham, Essex, London and South Wales. Oldham was clearly the target of a nationally co-ordinated NF campaign (The Times, 19 June 2001). On 23 April, St George’s Day, BNP leader Nick Griffin



announced that he would be standing in Oldham West in the forthcoming general election, after national media reports that in Oldham there were more racially motivated attacks on whites than Asians (The Times, 24 April 2001). Apparently Oldham had been the focus of a struggle between Britain’s two principal neo-fascist organizations – the BNP and the NF – with the BNP starting to recruit in the town some 18 months previously. Both use the language of ‘racial justice’ for whites as illustrated in the slogan ‘rights for whites’ (The Times, 28 May 2001). The BNP claims to have built its membership in Oldham from just two in 1999, to enough to have an organized presence in every local council ward in the town, and planned to stand candidates for every seat in the 2002 local elections in Oldham (The Times, 8 June 2001). Although the BNP has publicly condemned violence, it is exploiting the riots triggered by the NF and Combat 18 to cultivate support. The BNP has singled out Muslims as its chosen enemies. It claims to offer a radical alternative to the mainstream parties who have abandoned white working class areas. Therefore, instead of any progressive alternative, it has presented ‘racial’ solutions to real problems. The BNP saw the violence that summer as its best opportunity in years to put its anti-immigration views onto the political agenda, asking for Belfast-style peace walls to divide Asian and white communities in Oldham and a boycott of South Asian businesses. Its agenda remains ‘repatriation’ for Asians and the black communities. As the Labour Party has neglected its core white working class social base, the BNP has seen the opportunity to mobilize this group under the theme of ‘rights for whites’. Its deputy leader has recent convictions (in 1986 and 1991) for violence against ethnic minorities, and the leader Nick Griffin has a recent conviction (1998) for inciting racial hatred (The Observer, 1 July 2001). ‘Rights for whites’ has become a powerful frame for working class grievances in northern towns, and BNP voters are quick to use this language to legitimize their political allegiances: I voted BNP and I don’t worry who knows it. Everyone in the street voted for them. This morning I feel like someone is actually fighting for the white people of Oldham, for their rights (quote from Rhona Norton, BNP voter, in The Times, 9 June 2001).

Whilst the riots of 2001 and the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and 7/7 have provided political opportunities for the far right, much of what little academic analysis there is of the resurgence of the far right in contemporary British politics has focused upon the modernization of the BNP and the role of local political processes (Eatwell, 2003; Rhodes, 2006; Sykes, 2005). Since then the BNP has won around 50 seats on a wide range of councils such as Barking and Dagenham, Bradford, Burnley, Blackburn, Halifax, Kirklees, Leeds, Stoke and Sandwell. It has focused upon local white discontent about claimed preference in state funds for areas of South Asian residence. In doing so it has contributed to wider changes in racist discourses and practices towards targeting South Asian Muslims. Localized racisms that are manifest in support for the BNP connect local concerns with national and global events as diverse as migration and terrorism. Such concerns have no coherent class base, as in many places the BNP support comes from affluent middle class suburbs as well


Riotous Citizens

as deprived working class areas. The BNP has been an active agent in responding to this with vigorous carefully targeted local campaigning (Eatwell, 2003; Rhodes, 2006). Although this is sometimes seen in terms of the white working class deserting the Labour Party, evidence generally suggests that the BNP is receiving cross-class support as it was successful in the most affluent wards in Burnley and Oldham, suggesting that in some cases at least it has benefited most from the disorganization in the Conservative Party (Sykes, 2005: 138). Theoretical Themes and Methodological Issues At many points throughout what follows both we and those whom we interviewed use certain essentially contested terms such as community, Asian, riot, and so on in an apparently unproblematic way. For us this is as much for brevity of writing as anything else, and for our interviewees it was in the context of speech. However, we do feel it is necessary to clarify for the reader the ways in which we are using these terms and the theoretical baggage they carry along with them. Furthermore, we have not attempted to construct some general theory of rioting or disorder as some have attempted in the past (for example, Smelser, 1962; Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989). Rather we have chosen to take a path that pays closer attention to the data and is more pragmatic in its use of various theoretical insights to address the various issues considered in this book. This approach is justified in the detailed critical discussion of theories of riots and collective violence in the next chapter. We felt that such an exercise is still necessary given the problematic theoretical baggage and mistaken ‘commonsense’ assumptions that underpin so much of what apparently passes for so-called academic comment on these questions. In relation to riots and collective violence in a general way, we follow the broad recommendations of Rude (1981). He suggested that it is necessary to ask what happened and why, and with what consequences; who was involved and what they are attacking; the response of the forces of law and order and the longer term consequences of the event (Rude, 1981: 10–11). This deceptively simple list of questions of course carries with it a certain amount of theoretical baggage that we explore at relevant points in the following chapters. Indeed his rather innocent sounding agenda has been largely ignored in discussions of riots, but it has provided us with a framework for this book. In a more concrete manner in addressing Rude’s questions, we have resisted the attempt to seek a common collective identity to the crowd that seems to have besotted analysts of these phenomena from Le Bon (2002) in the nineteenth century to Reicher (for example, 2001) and his colleagues in the twenty-first century. This is simply to recognize that there is none to be found! This claim, perhaps startling to some, was first argued with some conviction by some of those who examined the urban riots in the USA in the 1960s (for example, McPhail, 1971). What they found, and what some others have also suggested was the case in the 1980s urban riots in the UK (Keith, 1993; Joshua and Wallace, 1983), was that there is a remarkable diversity in terms of those involved, their behaviours and their emotions and motivations. Furthermore, there is a surprising variability in people’s involvement. At one moment someone



may be serving the police tea and biscuits, yet a few hours later throwing stones at them. Furthermore riots are essentially contested events. Even the most cursory examination of comments from police officers, journalists, politicians, eye-witnesses and rioters themselves will reveal a diverse range of accounts of what happened and why. Even basic facts are often disputed in court cases, even between police officers ostensibly present at the same location at the same point in time (Joshua and Wallace, 1983). Rather than try to exclude these discrepancies through some contrived process of validation or triangulation, as attempted by some (for example, Reicher, 1984), we feel that they should be one of the objects of the analysis. There are a number of strongly contested concepts that we use through the book, one of which is community. We use the term community as an imaginary entity (Anderson, 2006), rather than one which is tangible. For Anderson, communities are imaginary because the vast majority of their members do not know each other and will never meet, they have limited if flexible boundaries and engender a strong sense of identity amongst their members (Anderson, 2006: 6–7). It is a social group that many of our informants feel that they belong to, and that others can identify with, although this identification by others is often negative. As Alexander has argued, community is: ‘a highly emotive and potent symbol for those it envelops and those it excludes’ (Alexander, 1996: 32). In talking of the Asian community, we have to walk a tightrope between notions of a fixed tradition-bound social entity, which we would wish to avoid, and one that recognizes its heterogeneity and dynamism. In relation to the imaginary community discussed here, it is important to recognize that individuals’ relationships to it are multifaceted and shaped by their other social positions such as class, generation and gender. It is for this reason that we have often highlighted these three aspects when discussing the views of any particular interviewee. Depending upon the issue at hand, the diversity of views about something varies according to class or gender or whether or not they are first-generation migrants or born and raised in the UK. In contrast to this analytical use of community, we are strongly critical of how the term is used in the community cohesion debate. Hopefully it will be apparent when and how we are using the concept. Far too much ink has been spilt on the question of defining what is or is not a riot. In the UK context, much of this revolves around concerns about riot being a legal category, an offence for which people may be arrested, tried and punished. Consequently, by referring to riots and rioters it is assumed that one is endorsing the legal definition and, more seriously, its application in certain instances. A further aspect often found in the UK is to refer to the riots of the 1980s as ‘uprisings’, in order to give them a common sense of collective political purpose, as if they were part of some co-ordinated assault on state power. Yet clearly they were nothing of the kind. Finally, there are academic classifications which avoid the use of the term ‘riot’ in favour of some other terminological invention. More recently Charles Tilly has similarly dispensed with the use of ‘riot’ for the well-meaning reason that application of the term entails a political judgement rather than an analytical decision (Tilly, 2003: 18). Bizarrely, his own analytical distinctions and examples of collective violence fail to encompass the events discussed in this book. We do not seek to add significantly to this accumulation here, and we take a more pragmatic approach and follow Oberschall who suggests that:


Riotous Citizens One must examine what collective goals and demands are voiced by the actors … If … the main purpose of the action is to inflict damage and/or injury upon certain groups or a category of persons, such as police, merchants, or whites in general, then one is dealing with a riot (Oberschall, 1993: 261).

A similar set of problems besets the idea of the crowd, and many previous analyses have attempted to define different types of crowd based on a variety of criteria (for example, Le Bon, 2002; Blumer, 1969). However, we have felt no need to do so. Nevertheless, we use the term ‘crowd’ advisedly, as it will become evident as our discussion proceeds that it is difficult to speak of a cohesive entity such as the crowd in the context of the disturbances. Consequently, we refer to the crowd as a shorthand to refer descriptively to the group of all those present, whether or not they were involved in violent conflict with the police, attacks on property or other activities. Many of those caught up in the crowd were not involved in these actions, as they may have just been observers or attempting to stop the violence. The research sought to develop an understanding of the 2001 riots and the impact the riot has had on the British Pakistani community in Bradford. This involved exploring in interviews what the riots meant for ordinary people, and the impact they had on other aspects of their lives. In the interviews there was a focus on respondents’ views about how the police and the authorities responded to the riots, how the media represented them, and the extent to which the far right had an influence on the riots. This also entailed attempting to provide an understanding of identity in the Pakistani community, and to locate their experiences and perceptions in an appropriate cultural context. These aims provided the themes for the interviews, and respondents also completed a short self-completion questionnaire providing basic demographic details about themselves. The semi-structured interviews allowed respondents to integrate aspects which they themselves thought were important. All the interviews were conducted between June and August 2002, were recorded and then transcribed later. Informants were offered a choice of languages; all the young and middleaged interviewees chose to be interviewed in English. The older participants spoke either Urdu or Punjabi. Interviews conducted in languages other than English were translated and transcribed simultaneously. Existing community and professional networks in Bradford facilitated sample recruitment. We approached community groups and community centres, for both young and older people, religious institutions, council organizations, disability groups and the Fair Justice for All Campaign. The sample was deliberately generated from a diverse range of organizations, as this would ensure that it was not dominated by specific groups of individuals, often with similar experiences, who were not normally in the public eye or who were not necessarily politically active members of the community. Further contacts were also made informally by the use of snowballing techniques. In total, 34 interviews and one focus group were conducted. With 19 male and 21 female participants, their ages ranged from 16 to over 60, with slightly more young women and older men. The riot took place in the postal districts BD8 and BD9, and interviewees were largely drawn from these two areas. Participants were also drawn from surrounding areas that were not directly affected. A larger proportion of women than men



interviewed were students, and there were also more women in part-time employment than men. Men in comparison were more likely to be in full-time employment, married and supporting families. Twice as many men as women were educated to degree level, whilst the proportions with no qualifications were similar. Those who were born in the UK significantly outweighed the number of those who had migrated to Britain. All of those interviewed have been given pseudonyms. Ensuring that all the respondents were Pakistani and Muslim was important, as those involved in the riots were predominantly from a Pakistani background. Religion was important because, when considered in conjunction with a person’s ‘ethnic’ background, it provides a sense of cultural identity. This is an important mediator of a person’s experience and understanding of the events in Bradford in 2001, especially in the light of subsequent media and political focus on Muslims. One obvious limitation of this study is that we have not interviewed the police, although we have spoken with a few officers informally since. This was for two inter-related reasons. The first rather mundane reason is our lack of resources, but the second reason is that we wished to prioritize the voices of those who were not being heard, those who had witnessed the events and their consequences. As a result, our main effort was to carry out qualitative interviews with a wide range of British Pakistani people in Bradford. This meant that we have ignored other voices, but this was not a level playing field. Similarly, resource constraints meant that we were not able to do fieldwork in Oldham or Burnley. Plan of the Book In Chapter 1 we discuss the various theoretical approaches and other more or less systematic attempts to understand and explain riots. Our account begins with the contributions of the various continental social scientists at the end of the nineteenth century, with a particular focus on the work of Gustave Le Bon. His work was, and in some respects still is, highly influential. Le Bon did not study crowds of any kind directly in any systematic way. He relied upon the observations of others, but this did not prevent him from attempting to provide a systematic theory of crowd behaviour. His work, and that of those like him, was highly influential on the early attempts by sociologists in the USA to understand crowd behaviour. Here we focus on the contributions of Park (Park and Burgess, 1924), Allport (1924) and Blumer (1969). Despite progressively introducing more sociological elements into the discussion, they retain a powerful debt to Le Bon, and this is evident in the language that they use to describe the crowd. Standing out from this Le Bonian tradition in the early wave of American crowd theorists is Neil Semlser (1962). Entering the field from the very different perspective of structural functionalist sociology inspired by Parsons, he developed an account of crowd behaviour and riots that he termed hostile outbursts. A further wave of crowd analysis and theory followed in the 1950s and 1960s, and here the contributions of Turner and Killian are the most significant. For the first time those writing about crowds attempted to study them more or less directly using established sociological methods.


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The late 1960s and the early 1970s saw a whole wave of empirically based American studies of crowd behaviour that challenged much of what had been taken for granted in the earlier literature. Sociologists such as Couch (1968), McPhail (1971) and Oberschall (1993), amongst others, drew upon their own empirical research and that of others into the numerous riots that occurred in many US cities in the 1960s to transform the sociological image of the crowd and the riot. In particular they challenged the view that crowds were exceptional deviant phenomena, where people become irrational when gripped by the mentality of the crowd mind. Parallel to these developments in sociology were the contributions of social historians such as Rude (1981) and Thompson (1991), especially in their studies of pre-industrial European political crowds, which similarly confounded the claims of the classical tradition with empirical evidence of the pattern and rationality of collective violence. The chapter closes with a discussion of the debates around the reasons for the urban riots in Britain during the 1980s. Following this review of the diverse theoretical perspectives on the crowd and riots, we provide an overview of the three main towns, Oldham, Burnley and Bradford, where the most significant riots took place. Firstly, this entails providing a systematic account of the economic and social positions of the pertinent ethnic groups in these localities and how they compare to national patterns. Here we show that for the most part the South Asian communities in these places experience significant economic and social disadvantages. The second part of Chapter 2 provides an account of the context of the riots, how the riots developed and the immediate consequences. Here we draw out a number of common themes in each locality, yet at the same time identify a number of ways in which they diverge. What is common to all three is prior mobilization by various neo-fascist groups aimed particularly at South Asian Muslims; the dismantling of key anti-racist institutions, in particular local race equality committees; some degree of local media and or mainstream political hostility towards local South Asian Muslim communities; indifferent policing of certain events in the run-up to or immediately prior to the riots; and the failure of local political support for those who were arrested and sentenced for their role in the riots. In Chapter 3 we begin our more detailed analysis of the events in Bradford. This draws upon interviews with members of the local Pakistani community, including some who witnessed the events before, during and after the riot. This first chapter on the Bradford riot focuses upon the different views about how the riot developed. This is then followed in Chapter 4 by an analysis of the various dynamics of the crowd during the riot itself. Here we highlight the diversity of the crowd and its behaviour, and indeed the variations in the behaviour of the same individuals at different points in the riot. We consider the issue of the broader political context of the Bradford riot in Chapter 5. Central to our discussion here are the views and perspectives of those most affected by the riots. Whilst politicians, journalists and other commentators have been quick to remark on the connections between the violence in Bradford and the other riots in England during 2001 and the 1995 riot in Bradford, we focus on our interviewees’ opinions about these issues. We show how there are numerous links between the riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford from the perspective of our



interviewees. They believed that the rioters were in some way expressing a sense of solidarity with those affected by the riots elsewhere, as well as resisting the far right and expressing a desire to defend their neighbourhood. We then go on to look at the relationship between the police and the local Pakistani community. The majority of those who we interviewed, young and old, men and women, recounted numerous examples of apparently arbitrary harassment of young Pakistani men by the local police extending back many years. However, these were not the immediate causes of the riots in 2001; that lay with the mobilization of the far right. We also consider their views about the local political leadership. The role of community leaders has been highly controversial in much of the subsequent debate about the 2001 riots, with many highlighting the way in which such leaders are seen as unrepresentative of the young and women. However, in contrast to this we found that dissatisfaction with community leaders and their failure to represent the community extended across young and old, men and women. Finally in this chapter we document people’s views about the media reporting of the riots. Overwhelmingly this was seen as selective, biased towards the police and tending to ignore the role of the far right in the run-up to the riot. Chapter 6 moves from the broader relationships with dominant social and political institutions, to examine the interpersonal and cultural consequences of the 2001 riots for British Pakistanis. The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC further complicates these issues and we directly address this aspect in this chapter. Both the wider social and political responses to the riots and the 9/11 attacks were seen by younger respondents in particular as leading to their further exclusion from British society. In this chapter, we examine these effects on the interpersonal experiences of our interviewees in terms of their relationships with white people, and their experiences of racism and Islamophobia. For many, this was seen as a reversal of the gradually improving relationships with the white community. In particular, women wearing traditional dress and men in certain occupations or when wearing traditional dress were the most likely to tell us about experiences of racism or Islamophobia since the riots and the 9/11 attacks. The issue of the punishment and sentencing of the South Asian men arrested for their part in the riots has been the subject of both political and academic controversy, and in Chapter 7 we tackle this issue head on. Unlike many of the riots of the 1980s, for example, the sentences given to many of those involved in Bradford and Oldham were lengthy custodial sentences, typically around three and a half years, often for quite minor acts during the riot such as simply throwing a couple of stones. This harsh sentencing arose from a number of sources. Primarily, the legislation on public disorder since the 1980s now enables such sentences to be handed down if the events are defined as riot by the criminal justice system. Questions of citizenship have become a central theme of contemporary political debate about British South Asian Muslim communities. In Chapter 8, we examine in some detail the meaning of citizenship amongst those we interviewed, paying particular attention to the generational variations in citizenship and identity. The distinctiveness of the British-born generation of South Asians and their supposed conflicts with their parents over various issues is often commented upon and works as a domain assumption of much policy debate such as that around community


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cohesion. However, whilst there are important generational differences, there is much that they share, as will become evident throughout the book, and the image of systemic conflict and the collapse of the South Asian family is largely a myth. In Chapter 9 we consider the second and equally controversial response of the state to the 2001 riots; the emergence of the policy discourse of community cohesion. This has in many respects displaced the ideal of liberal multiculturalism from contemporary mainstream political discourse and practice. In this chapter we provide a detailed critical analysis of the principal official reports into the riots that established the idea of community cohesion as the framework for the longer term response of the state to the riots. This is important, as too many still assume that the reports provided an explanation for the riots. They patently failed to do so. Consequently, in the next chapter we begin with those who have attempted to explain riots and collective violence.

Chapter 1

Theorizing Crowds, Riots and Public Disorder Introduction Attempts to explain and understand riots have a long and dubious history. We begin our discussion with the emergence of attempts to construct explanations of crowd behaviour in the nineteenth century by Tarde (1969; 2001), and especially Le Bon (2002). These are marked by a deeply conservative bias, and largely lack empirical evidence to support their principal claims. They are worthy of consideration for several reasons. They were and still are influential on some sociological and social psychological accounts of crowd behaviour and riots, and bear a close similarity to many of the popular accounts of riots produced by politicians and others. Finally, there have been some calls recently for a resurrection of their ideas (for example, Borch, 2005; 2006; Toews, 2003). We then examine how these ideas made their way into early American sociology and social psychology. This is the first wave of American work on the crowd and public disorder. Up to this point much of the sociological writing on the crowd was characterized by one especially surprising element: the lack of empirical evidence. The second wave of American sociological work is marked by a systematic attempt to gather data on crowd behaviour. It is at this point that genuine theoretical advances in the understanding and explanation of crowd behaviour begin to be made, in the light of empirical research designed specifically to examine the theoretical claims. Our discussion of the American literature ends with the third wave of work, which develops principally in response to the widespread riots in American cities in the 1960s. For the first time these events presented American sociologists with the opportunity to gather first-hand data about public disorder in a wide range of disturbances. Furthermore, the theoretical consequences of these research efforts were to finally throw off the shackles of the legacy of nineteenth-century attempts to theorize the crowd and collective violence. Our discussion of theories of crowds and collective violence then considers the contributions of social historians. Authors such as Rude and Thompson transformed the view of the crowd in both industrial and pre-industrial Europe, and sociologists saw that their work cast doubt on the accepted classical sociological views of the crowd. We then move on to consider the major British efforts to understand public disorder that emerged in relation to the urban riots of the early 1980s. Many of these analyses emphasize the social structural position of ethnic minorities in Britain in their explanations of riots. Other approaches were mostly social psychological in persuasion and produced a distinctive British social psychology of public disorder,


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as exemplified in the work of Stephen Reicher and his colleagues (for example, Drury and Reicher, 2000; 2005; Reicher, 1984; 1996; 2001). Reifying the Crowd Before considering these theories in detail, we want to outline some general issues that affect many of these analyses of riots and crowd behaviour. Whether the approaches are North American or European in origin, we believe that they often share an overarching problem: an inherent tendency to reify the crowd. Whilst essentialism has become the central theoretical and methodological trap to be avoided at all costs in the humanities and the social sciences (Werbner, 1997), we do not feel that this is the only problematic issue with many academic analyses of riots and crowds. Rather we feel that the problem is one of a process of reification in the execution of these analyses that leads to essentialism. The problems that arise from the reification of riots and collective violence are both analytical and normative. Analytically, reified accounts fail to provide adequate explanations, whilst normatively they privilege the views of the powerful over those of the powerless (Keith, 1993: 81). To essentialize is to suggest a necessary constitutive quality to a group or person that is timeless and unbounded. Consequently, it disguises and distorts social relations, processes and identities (Werbner, 1997: 228); hence the risk that any kind of analysis that seeks to speak of categories or groups sharing a characteristic may be essentializing. Here Werbner suggests that the distinction between objectification and reification becomes central. Many groups, through processes of constructing a collective identity, effectively engage in a process of objectification. Through this process, imaginary ethnic or religious communities are situationally constructed and treated as real, as out there for people to relate to. In contrast, reification is treated as something having characteristics or a reality that it does not in fact have (Werbner, 1997). Whilst people in the crowd may talk as if the crowd had a clearly defined collective identity, as if it were acting in concert, as if there was consensus within it, then they are objectifying their beliefs and their impressions. However, the rather dull reality is that there is no magical collective identity that all are encompassed by, but rather an aggregate of groups, individuals and processes. The beliefs and actions within the crowd come from a diversity of positions, both before the gathering, during the gathering and afterwards, when it is remembered and talked about in situations such as interviews with social scientists. As a result we should pay more attention to this diversity of positions from which the participants in the crowd objectify themselves, and how they project their thoughts, feelings and beliefs onto the crowd as a whole. However, when we treat these as data, as an unmediated truth about the crowd, what it was thinking and doing and why, then we risk reification. When we pursue this argument a stage further and see all crowds as bearing the same formations, characteristics or patterns, then we risk the danger of essentializing them, of seeing all crowds as sharing some kind of essential characteristic or set of characteristics. This is precisely what we believe many analyses of riots have done. This does not mean there is nothing to learn from these studies – on the contrary many of

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them recognize the diversity of the crowd, and the role of interactive processes in generating behaviour – but ultimately they all constitute the object of their analyses as the reified crowd. They see the various crowds they have studied as all sharing essential characteristics. Precisely what these are and how they are generated varies from author to author, but they are there nevertheless. The consequence of reifying the crowd has the effect of failing to appreciate that: ‘… the range and variation of individual and social behaviours in which people engage in temporary gatherings, and the ongoing alternation between these different forms of behaviour, requires a full measure of conscious, purposive, and intelligent effort by participants’ (McPhail, 1991: 20). Furthermore, many, in seeking to emphasize the common patterns and traits of the crowd, be they collective identity or common processes or forms of action, seek a coherent single description of what they believe ‘really happened’. However, the actors in the crowd are in a state of extreme narrative indeterminacy; they think they know what has happened (they probably do not, given that they are relying on rumour and have only experienced events from one position and possibly only for part of the time of the riot), they think they know what is happening, and they do not know what is going to happen next. In retrospect, eye-witnesses to such events naturalize these sequences into a logical and intelligible order. Building upon these with the benefit of hindsight, analysts come along and generalize them into patterns of disorder. This is not to deny that there is some pattern, some structure and some degree of collective purpose. The police, of course, have tightly regulated procedures for dealing with such situations, which are one obvious source of patterning. Within the crowd there are degrees of coherence, but these are multiple and mutate during the event. Projections of the Bourgeois Mind: Nineteenth-century Views of the Crowd The first contributions to systematic understandings of crowd behaviour can be found in the work of Le Bon, Sighele, Fournial and Tarde, but of these only the work of Le Bon and to a much lesser extent Tarde are still referred to (van Ginneken, 1992). If it were not for the subsequent and indeed contemporary pernicious effects of Le Bon’s views of the crowd, they would not be worth even a footnote. However, many of the themes of their discussions dominate politicians’ and journalists’ comments about collective violence today. In some cases the residue of their efforts still pollutes what Michael Keith (1993: 80) termed ‘potentially dangerous sources of academic charlatanism’. Le Bon’s book on the crowd has been widely translated and was hugely influential upon the development of European fascism. Le Bon’s ideas themselves were largely derived from the earlier work of Sighele, the historian Taine, and Tarde. Whilst the Italian Sighele was a socialist whose ideas on the crowd were used by lawyers to argue that those accused of offences during political riots were not really responsible for their actions, Le Bon used his arguments, without due recognition, to criticize the socialist crowds of late nineteenth-century France (van Ginneken, 1992). This illustrates how these ideas about the crowd are not necessarily related to


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any particular political perspective, but through the efforts of Le Bon have been most strongly associated with right-wing ideologies. Le Bon sees the emergence of crowds as rooted in two features of what contemporary sociologists would call modernity. The first is the decline of traditional sources of authority, such as religion, and the second is the emergence of new forms of thought derived from science (Le Bon, 2002: ix–x). He writes of crowds developing a ‘collective mind’ oriented towards a common goal, such that each individual’s self-conscious personality dissolves within it (Le Bon, 2002: 2). This is what Le Bon terms an organized or psychological crowd: Whoever be the individuals that compose it, however like or unlike be their mode of life, their occupations, their character, or their intelligence, the fact that they have been transformed into a crowd puts them in possession of a sort of collective mind which makes them feel, think, and act in a manner quite different from that in which each individual of them would feel, think, and act were he in a state of isolation (Le Bon, 2002: 4).

This is the core of what has been subsequently termed the transformation hypothesis (McPhail, 1991: 13–20). Under the influence of the crowd mind Le Bon contends that unconscious emotions come to the fore to the detriment of self-conscious rationality. In this way he compared the crowd participant to someone who had been hypnotized. Furthermore, in the anonymity of the crowd, individuals can throw off their self-control and behave in quite unrestrained ways. Consequently, those in the crowd become suggestible and influenced by the contagion of ideas and actions that characterize the crowd. These include: impulsiveness, irritability, credulousness, suggestibility, exaggeration, intolerance and conservatism. Yet he also saw crowds as having a moralizing role. In a manner typical of nineteenth-century European intellectual racism, Le Bon compared crowds, presumably of European men, to the behaviour of women, children and ‘savages’ (Le Bon, 2002: 10). Whilst Le Bon is by far the best known and influential of the late nineteenthcentury writers on the crowd, it is now widely accepted that he was little more than a highly skilled popularizer of ideas developed by others (Nye, 1975; van Ginneken, 1992). One who was influential on Le Bon and vice versa was Tarde who applied his theories of imitation to the crowd. Imitating but not citing Le Bon, he argued in a passage that was to be widely imitated by later North American writers that: A mob is a strange phenomenon. It is a gathering of heterogeneous elements, unknown to one another; but as soon as a spark of passion, having flashed out from one of these elements, electrifies this confused mass, there takes place a sort of sudden organization, a spontaneous generation. This incoherence becomes cohesion, this noise becomes a voice, and these thousands of men crowded together soon form but a single animal, a wild beast without a name, which marches to its goal with an irresistible finality. The majority of these men had assembled out of pure curiosity, but the fever of some of them soon reached the minds of all, and in all of them there arose a delirium (Tarde, 2001: 323).

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The work of Le Bon, Tarde and those like them is now widely seen as the expression of bourgeois intellectuals feeling under threat from the rising socialist movements of the time. As a French conservative, Le Bon was also highly critical of the crowds of the French Revolution and much of his book is littered with sometimes inaccurate descriptions of French crowd behaviour (van Ginneken, 1992; Nye, 1975). Aside from this normative critique of Le Bon, there are other important weaknesses in his work. Crowds are rarely if ever composed of socially uprooted anonymous individuals. Typically they are aggregates of sub-groups of friends or even relatives (Aveni, 1977; McPhail, 1991). The idea that social unrest leads to a loss of self-control has been similarly contradicted by the evidence. When people are confronted with novel situations, they normally exercise their typical forms of decision making and self-control (McPhail, 1991). The theory of social contagion and suggestibility operating within the crowd has also been widely challenged (Couch, 1968). Furthermore, McPhail suggests that contagion and suggestibility are based on faulty reasoning, as the underlying psychological mechanisms are inferred from the behaviours they are seeking to explain, so that the arguments are tautologous (McPhail, 1991: 15). Finally, how exceptional are crowds? As Couch and McPhail are at pains to point out, many of the behaviours that occur within crowds are extensions of routine behaviour. However, in those instances such as riots that involve violent conflict with the police, they clearly are not routine. Nevertheless, such behaviour does have a social patterning and rationale to it, as has been most clearly demonstrated by the contributions of the studies of US riots in the 1960s (McPhail, 1971), and the work of social historians (Rude, 1981; Thompson, 1991). The First Wave of American Theories of the Crowd The two key figures in the first wave of theorizing about the crowd in American sociology were Park (Park and Burgess, 1924) and Allport (1924). Whilst both were influenced by the earlier European writers such as Le Bon, and to a much lesser degree Sighele and Tarde, they took their ideas in rather different directions. Park developed a more sociological account of the crowd, apparently similar to the ideas of Le Bon, whilst Allport saw the characteristics of the crowd in more psychological terms, being quite critical of Le Bon. Allport sees the crowd as a group of individuals who are responding to some common object. Subsequently their emotions and actions are aroused by leaders and others in the crowd, amplifying their response to the common object of attention. He sees their responses as grounded in what he calls ‘prepotent drives’ such as fear, defence of the family, and so on. Consequently, he sees crowds largely in terms of some kind of violent struggle. The individuals in the crowd are acting as they would alone; it is simply that the crowd situation amplifies their feelings and actions. Although crowd members are suggestible, this must relate strongly to their prepotent drives. As those in the crowd have similar drives, then this is the real origin of crowd behaviour, rather than any social factors. Allport is thus very critical of Le Bon’s suggestion that some kind of collective crowd mind explains their behaviour.


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He presents an alternative explanation as follows in terms of a circular stimulation ‘reverberating’ between individuals (Allport, 1924: 301). In contrast to this, Park’s approach to the crowd follows that of Le Bon’s more closely, although he was also influenced by Sighele and Tarde. Park wrote of the significance of ‘social unrest’, where the unrest of an individual passes to others through social interaction becoming a collective, social phenomenon. This signifies the break-up of established social relationships and the possibility of the creation of new ones (Park and Burgess, 1924: 866–7). In comparison to a public that he sees as engaging in rational debate, the crowd for Park is irrational and impulsive, ‘milling’ to produce a ‘collective impulse’ (Park and Burgess, 1924: 869). Throughout his writings, Park cites and quotes Le Bon’s claims with approval, and for the most part his analysis of the crowd and its effects upon those within it does not depart from that of Le Bon. The earliest and most sustained attempt to understand riots sociologically in an elaborated and systematic way lies in the work of Herbert Blumer; however, his arguments bear the mark of many continuities from the contributions of Le Bon and similar writers. McPhail (1991) shows how Blumer’s contributions were elaborations on the work of Park (Park and Burgess, 1924), whose efforts were themselves based upon those of Le Bon and Tarde. Blumer saw riots as an instance of crowd behaviour that he termed ‘elementary forms of collective behaviour’. He sees this as the simplest form of social action, even animalistic and instinctive in cause. Its causes are seen as being situations where social disruption has led to a lack of normal social rules operating. Much of Blumer’s account of elementary forms of collective behaviour is strikingly reminiscent of Tarde’s account of imitation. Here as elsewhere in Blumer’s work, Tarde’s influence is exerted through Blumer’s reliance upon Park’s earlier efforts. Blumer sees a riot as emerging: ‘spontaneously and is not due to pre-established understandings or traditions’ (Blumer, 1969: 68). Although he often describes crowds in negative terms, for example, as an ‘excited mob’ (Blumer, 1969: 68), they still exhibit definite patterns of social behaviour that, although they are not routine, can still be said to be in a certain sense a primitive or natural form of social order: We use the term ‘elementary collective behaviour’ to refer to the incipient and primitive forms of human interaction … They are an antecedent condition to crowd behaviour, social unrest, collective excitement, crazes and manias, public discussion, mass behaviour and social movements … They represent basic forms of group interaction that are natural and indigenous in human association (Blumer, 1969: 70).

The idea that there is something instinctive, animalist or inhuman about elementary collective behaviour runs right the way through Blumer’s discussion, effectively naturalizing crowd behaviour rather than explaining it in social terms. This is evident in his account of his core idea of ‘circular reaction’, which is essentially action based on a simple response to other individuals’ behaviour without any conversation, interpretation or reflection. It generates collective behaviour based on imitation rather than shared understandings or rules. Consequently, people behave in similar

Theorizing Crowds, Riots and Public Disorder


imitative ways, and they become more alike rather than different to one another, like a herd of cattle: One sees this process clearly at work amidst cattle in a state of alarm. The expression of fear through bellowing, breathing, and movements of the body, induces the same feeling in the case of other cattle who, as they in turn express their alarm, intensify this emotional state in one another (Blumer, 1969: 70).

So people in a crowd are no different from a herd of bellowing stampeding cattle! Blumer suggests that elementary collective behaviour arises when the normal routines of social life are disrupted, and where people are sensitized to each other’s mental states. However, he describes the behaviour involved as ‘random’, ‘erratic’ and ‘aimless’ (Blumer, 1969: 73). Yet people are also emotionally excited, alarmed and suggestible, feeling an urge to act. Thus Blumer sees the crowd as moving from simple milling behaviour expressing a common mood to a state of collective excitement around a common object of attention where they are so emotionally excited that they are more willing to break normal social rules. At this stage social contagion may emerge where the irrational spread of an action may rapidly occur. In this way common patterns of behaviour emerge in crowds. Blumer then goes on to discuss the characteristics of a range of types of crowd. For our purposes his account of the acting crowd is most significant, and he defines this as an aggressive crowd whose actions are oriented to a specific objective. Such crowds are formed initially by: ‘the occurrence of some exciting event which catches the attention and arouses the interest of people’ (Blumer, 1969: 79). As a result of this he suggests that individuals lose their self-control, and the whole crowd behaves in a similar manner as they are all stimulated by the same object and their previously repressed impulses drive them all to act in the same way. Through the subsequent process of milling, the mood of the crowd is disseminated amongst all of those present, and they come to define a common object of their aggression. The acting crowd is above all spontaneous, emerging momentarily as a product of the impulses aroused amongst its members. As such it is not a society or a cultural group. Its action is not preset by accepted conventions, established expectations, or rules. It lacks other important marks of society such as an established social organisation, an established division of labour, a structure of established roles, a recognised leadership, a set of norms, a set of moral regulations, an awareness of its own identity … (Blumer, 1969: 80).

Individuals in such crowds have lost their critical faculties and capacity for selfcontrol, responding immediately to events around them without reflection or moral judgement. He excludes from this those individuals who may be present, but not take part in the actions of the crowd. Those who do participate are likely to experience a sense of power and invincibility (Blumer, 1969: 81). There is in Blumer’s account the most extreme kind of reification of the crowd. It is perceived, classified and considered as a pure social form, as a purely meaningless mass of human bodies and actions. Furthermore, it is discussed from a very particular normative perspective that denies the crowd any meaning, rationality or volition that


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in effect de-humanizes the participants. It is in no way or form a sociological account of the crowd. The psychological model underlying Blumer’s pronouncements essentializes the participants down to mere base animal instincts. The consequence is to wrench the crowd from any social, cultural or political context. There is indeed a central contradiction at the heart of Blumer’s argument. Although he wants to emphasize the imitative, instinctual and animalistic character of circular reaction, many of the characteristics of the crowd must of necessity involve interpretation. For instance, if people are emotionally excited, they must have interpreted the situation as one that is emotionally disturbing. Furthermore, to imitate others’ behaviour, they must first interpret and understand it. It must therefore be meaningful to them. For the acting crowd whose aggression is directed towards some specific object or goal, then that object of aggression must have some meaning for those in the crowd. As McPhail (1991: 14) has noted, people in such situations often exhibit an increased awareness of what is happening around them, rather than mere reaction to events. A further contradiction arises from Blumer’s assertion that elementary collective behaviour is defined as such because it is not shaped by preexisting cultural patterns. However, the very fact that Blumer is able to determine patterns and classify different types of crowd, and to cite examples that conform to these patterns, suggests otherwise. Blumer is remarkably vague about the time-spans of the mechanisms and processes of elementary collective behaviour. Some seem to be short-lived, a few minutes or seconds, as suggested in his discussion of social contagion, yet others could be lasting years and provide considerable opportunity for reflection and thought, such as those forms of social unrest: ‘… marked by feelings of frustration and protest over an existing mode of life and a consequent readiness to lash out in violent forms of attack on targets symbolizing that mode of life’ (Blumer, 1969: 73). We conclude our discussion of this first wave of the American attempts to theorize the crowd, riots and public disorder with a consideration of Smelser’s analysis of what he called the hostile outburst. His analysis is embedded in a broader account of all forms of collective behaviour, from panics and crazes, through hostile outbursts, through to the more organized norm-oriented movements (pressure groups and single issue campaigns) and value-oriented movements (revolutions). The hostile outburst is a type of collective behaviour where a specific institution, group or individual is perceived to be a source of strain, and as a result is attacked or assaulted. It is therefore broader than legal definitions of riots. Whereas the value-oriented movement seeks to transform the values of society, and the normoriented movement the more specific norms or rules in the social system, the hostile outburst seeks to ‘short-circuit’ the usual modes of redress of grievances in society by demanding an immediate resolution of the situation (Smelser, 1962). Theoretically his approach is very different from his predecessors in that he tried to build systematically upon Parsons’ general theory of action and social systems. This provides him with a logically derived structure for theorizing all types of collective action as follows: structural conduciveness, structural strain, the emergence of generalized beliefs, precipitating factors, the mobilization of actors, and the operation of social control. For Smelser, this is a universal analytical structure for all forms of collective behaviour.

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He suggests that there are three aspects of structural conduciveness for a hostile outburst: who is seen as responsible for strains, the opportunities for expressing grievances, and communication about grievances. However, structural conduciveness only concerns the general possibilities for action. Whilst a particular social group may be blamed for problems and there may be ineffective policing or lack of conventional means of expressing dissatisfaction, as well as lots of discussion about the grievances among potential rioters, this does not mean that a riot will necessarily occur. He argues that typically there is a combination of strains in play, although attention tends to focus on one particular factor. Often there is a lack of accurate information about the situation. Generalized beliefs that lead to hostile outbursts often take the form of rumours about the actions of a group towards whom there is already considerable hostility and aggression. Precipitating factors then confirm the generalized beliefs about the vilified individual, group or organization. This might entail new sudden strains, the closure of the means of expression of what are seen as legitimate grievances, the failure of politicians or the police to deal with a situation, rumours or other previous hostile outbursts (Smelser, 1962: 227–53). This is then followed in Smelser’s analysis by the mobilization for action, which in the case of hostile outbursts involves leadership, organization and the character and composition of the hostile crowd. His discussion of leadership is limited to the psychopathic individuals, accidental leaders and already existing social movement organizations. The discussion of organization is similarly sketchy, focusing on the degree of pre-existing organization, location and the impact of policing. Smelser goes on to suggest that hostile outbursts follow a curve of aggression, and the crowd’s volatility is expressed through its movements from one target to another. He recognizes that, once underway, hostile outbursts attract a range of different kinds of people, who may direct their attention to different targets. Finally, Smelser examines the role of the social control of hostile outbursts. His principal point here is that if either the authorities or the forces of law and order on the streets fail to control the situation vigorously enough, then the hostile outburst will continue or further events will occur (Smelser, 1962: 253–68). Smelser’s contribution differs from many of those that we have discussed up to this point in a number of important ways. He draws upon established sociological concepts, logically deriving an analytical structure from these through which to understand why hostile outbursts occur. He attempts to draw upon empirical evidence to support his claims. However, this is rather uneven in his discussion of hostile outbursts, where some of his arguments, for instance, about leadership and organization, apparently lack evidence and seem to be mere supposition. Nevertheless, his work shares many characteristics with that which came before. At various points he cites Le Bon approvingly as an authoritative source. He also tends to view collective behaviour and hostile outbursts in particular as deviant phenomena revealing an underlying conservative bias. A number of criticisms of Smelser’s approach have been developed, some theoretical, some normative and others based on empirical evidence. However, some have noted that an element of this criticism is unwarranted, based as it often is on a caricature of Smelser’s arguments (Crossley, 2002: 39). Nevertheless, there remain a


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number of well-founded problems with his analysis, both as a whole and in relation to hostile outbursts in particular. His approach remains wedded to a Parsonian image of society as an integrated social whole. This means that he tends to see those involved in hostile outbursts as simply deviants. It further tends to reproduce the model of the rioting crowd as irrational (Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989: 174–7; Waddington, 1992: 13). He sees hostile beliefs as short-circuiting social problems from complex causes to simplistic and irresponsible solutions (Smelser, 1962: 72). Some have argued that this formulation is imprecise and further highlights his treatment of collective behaviour as simply a form of deviance (Crossley, 2002: 47–8). As several authors have pointed out, many of his claims are either impossible to test or verify or entirely empty of meaning (Crossley, 2002; Rule, 1988; Scott, 1990). The result is often a series of tautologous statements that simply redefine the phenomena, rather than explain them (Scott, 1990: 41). Many have argued that his analysis of generalized beliefs suggests that these are just links in the causal chain producing collective behaviour. Non-institutional action is seen as simply irrational, and social structural factors are substituted for actors’ reasons (Scott, 1990: 42–5). In relation to hostile outbursts in particular, it has been argued that Smelser’s approach fails to take sufficient account of the historical and immediate relationships between civilians and the police, as well as the cultural differences between them (Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989: 174–7; Waddington, 1992: 13). For us this is significant, for as we shall see the strained relationships between the police and South Asian Muslim communities played both a long-term and a short-term role in how they reacted to each other immediately before, during and after the riots in 2001. Furthermore, it has been argued that Smelser presents the police as reacting to collective violence, and that this overlooks the interaction between crowd members and the police in the development of a riot. Consequently, the types of firm police action advocated by Smelser may actually instigate violence rather than suppress it (Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989: 177). Crossley (2002) has further suggested that Smelser conflates the important distinction between factors external to collective behaviour with processes that go on within it. By treating all factors as part of an overall model, he suggests that Smelser fails to fully recognize that strain, conduciveness, precipitating factors and social control are external to collective behaviour. They are to a large extent beyond the control and influence of the social actors involved. However, mobilization and the formation of generalized beliefs are in some way either what the actors concerned are doing or are in part at least a consequence of their behaviour. Thus the different stages of Smelser’s model are not of the same theoretical order. Nevertheless, Crossley (2002: 53), for example, does recognize the importance of Smelser in constructing a kind of agenda of the complex range of sociological factors relevant to the study of collective behaviour. The first of these is that, by highlighting generalized beliefs, Smelser is suggesting that we need to pay close attention to the thoughts of those involved in collective action. Secondly, unlike many subsequent theorists who focused on the processes of mobilization, Smelser does suggest that we need to locate movements in relation to the social strains that give rise to them.

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The Second Wave of American Theories The second wave of American theorizing about riots developed in direct response to the many violent disturbances that occurred in cites across the US in the 1960s. For the first time sociologists were able to systematically gather a wide range of data on such disturbances with a view to directly assessing the claims of some of the earlier theories. The effect was not just an accumulation of detailed evidence but a fundamental critique of previous approaches and the formulation of more persuasive analyses. The work of Turner and Killian is perhaps the best known of this second wave of theorizing. Their account also acts as a kind of bridge between the earlier wave and current work. Whilst they are critical of many of the claims of the earlier attempts to understand crowd behaviour, they see themselves as developing this tradition, especially the work of Blumer and Park (Turner and Killian, 1987: 3–5). They are critical of the earlier writers on both empirical and theoretical grounds, and they were the first to clearly establish that crowds are not homogenous. However, they do recognize that there is some degree of co-ordinated action in these situations. As they put the problem succinctly when proposing their emergent norm approach: An emergent norm approach reflects the empirical observation that the crowd is characterised not by unanimity but by differential expression, with some people expressing what they are feeling while others do not. The illusion of unanimity arises because the behaviour of part of the crowd is perceived both by observers and by crowd members as being the sentiment of the whole crowd. Variant views and divergent forms of behaviour go unrecognised or are dismissed as unimportant (Turner and Killian, 1987: 26).

For Turner and Killian, previous writers had erroneously described crowds as emotional and irrational. They see these as characteristics of individuals, and for us this would entail an inappropriate reification of the crowd. Further, they believe that the distinction between emotion and rationality is difficult to draw, as the same action may be both rational and entail the expression of emotion (Turner and Killian, 1987: 13–14). They see collective behaviour as emerging in response to a situation of uncertainty, but they recognize that it is normal and not pathological. For them, it is necessary to understand how people transcend established patterns of behaviour, why people act rather than just agree with what others are doing, and why the action is collective rather than individualistic. They see this as producing collective action as an unstable phenomenon where the thoughts and actions of those involved are constantly challenged and revised. However, these are seen as in some way coordinated by what they term ‘emergent norms’. In crowd situations they contend that a common definition of the situation emerges that defines what is seen as right or wrong and provides a justification for certain actions. In these circumstances Turner and Killian suggest people do together what they would not normally do either individually or collectively. In the case of riots, people would attack the police, set fires, loot shops, and so on. These actions emerge when those in the crowd feel that they are both feasible and timely, as well as justified by the emergent norm. Such types of collective behaviour happen when there is an event that is so far out of the


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range of normal expectations that people feel the need to act together to deal with it (Turner and Killian, 1987: 7–9). Central to the process of crowd formation is the role of rumour. They do not see rumour as referring to false beliefs, but as a process of interaction and communication between people who are trying to make sense of an uncertain or threatening situation. This is an interactive process to which there is a variety of responses by those involved. It is then followed by a ‘milling process’ which intensifies the attention of the crowd. The outcome of these processes is the emergent norm, the new definition of the situation. However, they emphasize that not everyone will go along with this definition. The collective expression of an emergent norm occurs in response to a keynoting action by someone in the crowd. There is some gesture or statement that captures the crowd’s attention which embodies the definition of the situation. At this point uncertainty is put aside and the crowd accepts and acts in line with the newly defined emergent norm (Turner and Killian, 1987: 52–60). There are a number of problems with the emergent norm approach, some of which are shared with the earlier wave of theorists such as Park and Blumer. McPhail (1991), for example, has argued that Turner and Killian fail to specify what is distinctive about collective behaviour, so that it is not possible to see from their arguments what would count as collective behaviour when you encountered it. To this he adds a long list of problems. He contends that they fail to describe and explain the convergence of people, and that their reasoning is circular when they explain why particular people join a crowd. For instance, someone who is a spectator comes to watch. They fail to demonstrate that prior attitudes act as disparate reasons for joining crowds, and ignore evidence to the contrary. Their emphasis on the diversity of individual reasons overlooks the evidence that shows that people join crowds as pre-existing groups of friends or relatives. Similarly, there is little evidence that crowds are brought together through rumour. They also fail to specify the form and content of such communications. Most critically, there is a central contradiction in their argument. Whilst correctly rejecting the idea that there is homogeneity in the predispositions of those in the crowd, their account of keynoting suggests that the crowd is in agreement with the keynoter (McPhail, 1991: 89–103). The Third Wave of American Crowd Theories Couch (1968) was highly critical of the then (1960s) dominant ways of thinking about crowds in American sociology, and his analysis of these problems can be seen as one of the turning points in the development of thinking about crowds and riots in particular. He saw Blumer’s and Smelser’s ideas as sharing the arguments of Le Bon, suggesting that these and other authors shared a pathological stereotype of the crowd where they claimed that crowds were: suggestible, destructive, irrational, emotional, mentally disturbed, composed of the lower classes, spontaneous, creative, lacked selfcontrol and were anti-social. He is dismissive of these claims to varying degrees. On suggestibility, he argues that if crowds were as suggestible as the literature implies then: ‘all that would be necessary to disperse a crowd would be to suggest they break up and go for a cold swim’ (Couch, 1968: 312).

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Although crowds may be destructive, most cases suggest that more people are injured and killed by the authorities trying to control the crowd than by the crowd itself. Couch argues that crowds can be seen as rational in the broadly defined sense, as: ‘… that action which represents the most effective means for achieving some goal …’ (Couch, 1968: 315). More generally, irrationality is an ideological term, as rationality is identified with the dominant institutions of society. Although crowds are emotional, so too are many other social situations and that emotionality is not distinctive to crowds as social phenomena. Furthermore, not only the crowd but the agents of social control are in a state of heightened emotion. Comparisons to paranoia or delusions of persecution are often quite reasonable feelings among crowd members given that: … some of the participants of a crowd or protest movement have attempted to correct undesirable situations prior to the formation of crowds. Such action usually elicits negative evaluations and sometimes repressive acts. The person then feels the authority figure is persecuting him and this will strengthen his conviction that the opposition is against him. Reciprocally, his actions will elicit a still more negative evaluation and more repressive action (Couch, 1968: 317).

He also suggests that lower class participation in crowds is exaggerated, and that this is a variant of the tendency to dismiss all demonstrators as ‘riff-raff’. Rather he claims that the evidence suggests that it is a wide range of middling groups who usually comprise crowds, as the lower classes lack the opportunities, skills and status to organize themselves into effective crowds. Spontaneity is a further reputed feature of crowds, but Couch notes that some degree of planning before and during the actions of crowds is typical. The ideas in the crowd and the kinds of action that they engage in often predate the formation of the crowd. He argues that a lack of external control characterizes crowd behaviour, as individuals in a crowd are often difficult to identify and hold responsible for their actions. Crowd behaviour is seen by Couch as highly social, with some degree of co-ordination of action (Couch, 1968). Some of Couch’s claims received empirical support from authors such as Lieberson and Silverman (1965), who argued that the precipitating incidents of race riots were often offences committed by one group against another,for example, involving women, police or assault. Prior community tensions were important, and riots were more likely in cities with few black police officers. Broad background factors included local political and institutional failure. In a similar way to Couch, Dynes and Quarantelli (1968) suggested that looting is typically perceived as simply criminal behaviour. This fits with the assumptions of the powerful about the criminal propensities of certain ethnic groups. However, in riot situations, looters are often ordinary members of the local community. Some analysts suggested that looting is seen as a political action to redistribute private property (Berk and Aldrich, 1972: 545). Furthermore, crowds are not made up of individuals but groups of friends, and most recognize other people in the crowd (Aveni, 1977). This raises the issue of participation in riots. However, McPhail (1971) argued that this was inherently difficult to measure, precisely because individuals varied in their levels of participation during a riot, as well as their motivations: ‘It is conceivable that many persons present for any period of time across the duration of


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a civil disorder are intermittently engaged in nonrioting and rioting and/or counterrioting activities, if not in fact all three’ (McPhail, 1971: 1068). We might add that this is not just a question of measurement, but is also a problem that has bedevilled theorizations of riots that have reified the homogeneity of the crowd in terms of action, social background or identity. Thus there is an unwarranted assumption of the commonality of purpose and identity in many analyses. In his secondary analysis of the literature, that sought to uncover the relationships between individual characteristics and liability to become involved in riots, McPhail (1971) rejects the idea that deprivation leading to frustration followed by aggression could explain riots. The only factors that produced a significant association with riot participation were age, sex, ethnicity and level of education. However, he concluded that these should be treated with some caution as there appeared to be nothing inherent in these characteristics which would lead people to become involved, other than simply more likely to be on the streets at that time. He goes on to conclude that: An assemblage of persons in a common place in time and space provides a platform from which a variety of individual and joined performances can be launched. Recent studies of civil disorder participation have neither recognised, recorded nor attempted to account for this variation (McPhail, 1971: 1071).

Abudu Stark et al. (1974) found that the process of the development of the riot was much more complex and unpredictable than current theories suggested. The spread and pattern of particular actions during the riot which lasted several days suggested that different groups engaged in the same and different actions in diverse locations in highly unpredictable ways. Oberschall similarly made a useful set of distinctions between different levels of participation. Commenting on how the riot in Los Angeles in August 1965 managed to rapidly attract large numbers of participants, Oberschall noted that the news media had widely reported previous events so that the location was widely known, so that anyone wishing to be there ‘had the same piece of information to go on’ (Oberschall, 1993: 253). He suggests that there were limits to the crowd’s violence and cites as evidence for this the fact that no one was killed by the crowd. Further he suggests that as more police were injured than any other category of person, the aggression of the crowd was directed at specific targets. Finally, he argues that aggression and violence were limited to certain kinds of action during the riot, as firemen were encouraged by the crowd to attend fires in houses but not businesses, and that looters observed traffic laws as they carried away their goods. However, it is not entirely clear in Oberschall’s account how these bounds, targets and means emerge and are defined, other than by a common grievance (Oberschall, 1993: 259). A number of features characterize the third wave of American analyses of collective violence. They were deeply critical of earlier accounts on theoretical, methodological and empirical grounds, correctly seeing that for the most part they were continuations of the Le Bonian tradition. Furthermore, they were able to bring to the debate rigorous empirical analyses of contemporary incidents of collective violence in their own society. Finally, to varying degrees and in different ways, they

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correctly identified the heterogeneity of the violent crowd. Although largely made up of local people, such crowds were not made up of isolated unscrupulous individuals, but of a range of people, who engaged in different types of action at different points during an episode of collective violence. The Social Historians Despite the enormous methodological problems entailed in studying crowds from 200 or more years ago, the work of authors such as Rude and Thompson challenged empirically the negative stereotypes promulgated by the Le Bonian tradition and the early phases of the American collective behaviour approach. Rude (1981) was among the first in this field. He focused his attention initially on political crowds in England and France in the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries. He explicitly excluded from his analysis the sports and leisure crowds often included by the American collective behaviour theorists, as well as the electorates, parliamentary assemblies and juries considered as ‘crowds’ by Le Bon and others, because he is interested not in the form that crowd action takes, but rather the reasons for it and its consequences. In particular he is interested in political crowds and how they reacted to the industrial revolution, leading him to distinguish between the pre-industrial and the industrial crowd. The pre-industrial crowd was typified by the food riots, machine breaking and the destruction of toll gates. Made up of peasants and agricultural labourers, these crowds were typically based in rural areas, and were often seen as informal and spontaneous. Their motivations were often the defence of traditional rights in the face of contemporary economic grievances such as food prices or loss of traditional rural rights of way and employment. Their targets were the immediate physical sources of their discontent – the markets charging higher prices, the new toll gates blocking traditional rights of way, or the machinery displacing their labour. These were physically attacked, burnt or destroyed (Rude, 1981: 5–6). In contrast, industrial crowds formed around strikes, mass meetings and public processions organized by political organizations, and were typically planned in advance. Rather than defending traditional rights, they sought new rights often associated with modern politics. These might have been economic in the form of higher wages, better conditions and a shorter working week, or they may have been political, such as the right to vote. Typically composed of wage earners, rather than attacking what they saw as their source of grievance, they raised petitions, held meetings and demonstrations, and went on strike (Rude, 1981: 5). Rude proposes that a series of questions should be asked about crowds in order to understand them fully and to challenge the stereotypes of the Le Bonian tradition. The first relates to what happened, why and with what consequences, in short to place it in its historical context. Whilst many analyses of riots have been preoccupied with what happened and why, the analysis of both the immediate and longer term consequences has been less frequent amongst many sociological analyses, especially those associated with the collective behaviour school. The second set of issues relates to the behaviour of the crowd and who it was composed of. Rude suggests


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that we need to examine the demography of the crowd, their social origins, ages and occupations. Who or what they were attacking are also important as it may not just illuminate the details of the event itself, but may also provide some insight into the social and political motivations of the participants, especially their wider aims, motivations and beliefs. Next he suggests that the response and effectiveness of the forces of law and order should be considered. Finally, the consequences of the crowd’s actions should be examined in their wider context for their longer term historical significance (Rude, 1981: 10–11). Rude’s deceptively simple list of questions is invaluable, and it is one that we have attempted to follow for the most part in this book. Rude highlights how many in both the pre-industrial and the industrial crowds that he studies were not the deracinated ‘rabble’ described by Le Bon and others, but rather ordinary lower class people, often of an adult age in their thirties. This challenges the more recent preoccupation with the youthfulness of contemporary violent crowds. The composition of the crowd, however, raises two important issues for Rude. Firstly, how far is it possible to draw a distinction between those in the crowd as ‘activists’, and the passive majority? Secondly, if one accepts such a distinction, how far are those who are active supported by those not directly involved (Rude, 1981: 211–12). As we shall see later in this book these questions become quite central at certain junctures. In his discussion of the beliefs and motives of the crowd, Rude is principally concerned with the historical question of the transition from pre-industrial to industrial motivations and ideas. However, in the context of this analysis he emphasizes the complexity and diversity of beliefs and motivations, and in particular he is keen to criticize those who impute beliefs to the crowd on the basis of their own values. Consequently, he sees the reasons for the crowd’s actions as complex and multiform: ‘The crowd may riot because it is hungry or fears to be so, because it has some deep social grievance, because it seeks immediate reform or the millennium, or because it wants to destroy an enemy or acclaim a “hero”; but it is seldom for any single one of these reasons alone’ (Rude, 1981: 217). The other principal social historian to have made a significant contribution to the understanding of riots is E.P. Thompson, particularly in his essay on the moral economy of the eighteenth-century crowd. In many respects this builds upon the insights of Rude’s analysis of the pre-industrial crowd, highlighting the normative motivations for protest in addition to narrow economic grievances. Thompson suggests that eighteenth-century food rioters were defending a traditional set of rights or customs that were supported by the wider community of the less well off. The purely market driven rises in food prices offended moral sentiments and this was the principal reason for food riots (Thompson, 1993: 188). Furthermore, these moral sentiments not only condemned price rises but also: ‘… sanctioned direct action by the crowd’ (Thompson, 1993: 212). Rather than being organized, the food riots of the time required only the support of the wider community, being: ‘… an inherited pattern of action with its own objectives and restraints’ (Thompson, 1993: 238). The moral economy is counterposed to the ‘free-economy’, where rises in prices offend dominant moral sentiments among the poor.

Theorizing Crowds, Riots and Public Disorder


Whilst Thompson’s analysis rescues the food rioters from claims of irrationality by focusing on the motivations of those in the crowd, and can be usefully opposed to the views of Le Bon and others, it does, however, have some limitations. The concept of moral economy seems tied to the defence of traditional rights and customs. For our own purposes this is rather limiting, because, as we shall see later, the motivations of the rioters of 2001 were tied to contemporary modern notions of citizenship. Thompson suggests that there was a community consensus that sanctioned the rioting. Again we suspect that this was never the case, and certainly for the 2001 riots we show that there is a diversity of views on the legitimacy of the rioting amongst the communities concerned. Finally, he suggests that rioting is an ‘inherited pattern of action’. However, there is no really convincing evidence of this, nor is there any clearly specified mechanism by which this inheritance is achieved. Is it memory? Do the old teach the young? Rather like the American sociologists of the 1960s who studied riots directly, social historians have restored the ‘humanity’ of the crowd. They have shown how the actions of those in the crowd were rooted in real grievances and established views about society. In the remainder of this chapter we examine how social scientists responded to the British urban riots of the 1980s. The Debate over the 1980s Urban Riots in Britain The riots of the early 1980s in many cities across Britain led to a very productive wave of theorizing about their causes and how to understand public disorder more generally. One early contribution was that of Lea and Young (1982) who argued that central to the riots was the relationship between the police and young British-born West Indians. They suggest that the younger second-generation West Indians born and educated in the UK had developed expectations of equal treatment with white people in all spheres of life. Thus it was the integration of this generation into a British society which continued to be discriminatory that gave rise to discontent. In their view black youth had developed a counter-culture in response to this situation, one that is disapproved of by the first-generation migrants. This sub-culture revolves around petty crime such as street robbery, drug use and interpersonal violence. The resultant high levels of crime in areas of significant African-Caribbean residence led to ever more high profile policing of these locations. As a consequence consensus policing in these neighbourhoods collapsed, and high profile police operations were seen as symbolic assaults on the whole community. In these circumstances where large numbers of innocent individuals are being stopped and questioned by police, Lea and Young suggest that the preconditions for a riot are established. However, these factors are not sufficient, and they argue that the lack of adequate means of political representation of young ethnic minority residents in the inner city is also important. This self-styled ‘left-realist’ account of the 1980s riots is inadequate in a number of ways. Focusing solely on African-Caribbean youth is empirically unwarranted. Whilst they may have had a prominent role, studies at the time showed that the vast majority of riots were ethnically mixed affairs, and that a high proportion of those


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arrested were aged over 21 (Cooper, 1985; Keith, 1993; Vogler, 1991). The focus on black criminality leads to the stereotyping of black youth, and one is left with the implication that the rioters were just criminals. The issue is not an empirical one about blacks committing crime, but the claim that such criminality is necessarily the product of a black counter-culture (Gilroy, 2002: 90). Furthermore, Vogler showed that, of four of the riots that he examined in some detail, in three of them just over half of those arrested had previous criminal records (Vogler, 1991: 113). By arguing so strongly for the distinctiveness of the relationship between black youth and the police, Lea and Young overlook the longer term history of poor relationships between the police and ethnic minorities in the UK (Gilroy, 2002: 95–104; Keith, 1993: 16). A much overlooked contextual feature of the 1980s riots was not just the often cited drift into authoritarian policing – it is arguably more authoritarian now – but the extent of neo-fascist mobilizations and their connections with racist attacks. In January 1981 13 young black people died in a house fire in Deptford as a result of a suspected racist attack that the authorities failed to adequately investigate. The Home Office was investigating the relationships between far right organizations and racist attacks, finding that such incidents were increasing. In March a National Front demonstration in Lewisham was banned, as were marches across London later in April for similar reasons, and later in the year in London, Oxford, Liverpool and Peterborough, a total of 19 in eight months. In May a demonstration by 10,000 South Asians and white people against racist attacks and the murder of a South Asian student was met by supporters of the NF and the British movement, and in July clashes between local South Asians and neo-fascists attending a concert led to a riot between local South Asian people and the police (Cowell, Jones and Young, 1982: 153–68). Finally, by focusing on the street culture of young black men and their criminality, Lea and Young also pathologize certain localities and by implication those who populate them – the black community (Keith, 1993). Another early riser in the debate about the 1980s riots can be found in the work of Benyon. Paraphrasing writers such as Smelser, he suggested that the riots followed triggering events involving black people and police officers. The riots always occurred in locations with the following characteristics: all of the areas had significant AfricanCaribbean or South Asian populations who experienced widespread economic and social disadvantage as a result of racial discrimination. Each of the places where the 1980s riots occurred had disproportionately high levels of unemployment, especially among young people and African-Caribbeans. Deprivation was widespread, encompassing housing, education, social facilities and high levels of crime. The local ethnic minority populations were politically excluded, so that they lacked the opportunities and resources to adequately represent their grievances. Consequently, many political decisions were imposed from above by local government, central government or their agencies. Finally, there was widespread hostility towards and lack of trust in the local police, especially among young ethnic minority people (Benyon, 1987: 33–5). Rather like Lea and Young this is little more than a list of characteristics of particular localities. They may provide a useful catalogue of necessary factors for the emergence of collective violence, but they do not provide a sufficient explanation. The meaning of the situation to those involved is imputed rather than based on any

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solid empirical evidence. These types of analysis overlook the specific local histories of conflict with the police that some have argued is essential to understanding why the riots occurred (Keith, 1993). The Flashpoints Model One of the more enduring accounts produced partly as a result of the academic reflections on the riots of the 1980s has been the flashpoints model (Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989; Waddington, 1992; 2007.). Unlike many of the other contributions to the academic debates on the 1980s riots, this model aims to produce a general account of a range of instances of public disorder and includes football crowd violence, violence arising from political demonstrations and other events. Taking Smelser and others as inspiration (Waddington, 2007: 49) this approach explicitly attempts to develop a multi-causal account of public disorder. The goal of the model is to specify the pertinent factors in a general theory to explain when disorder occurs. The framework identifies interdependent levels of analysis from the macro social context to the micro social interactions between crowd members and police officers. These levels, running from the macro to the micro, include: the structural context, the political and ideological level, the cultural level, the context of the crowd event, the situational level and the interactional level. The macro social structural level refers to questions such as economic inequalities, political exclusion and ideological conflict with the state that may give rise to collective grievances. What happens to such grievances depends upon what is happening at the political and ideological level. This encompasses the roles of leading politicians, senior police officers and the media and how they respond to the insurgency of dissatisfied groups. Whether or not such groups are seen as legitimate or as a serious threat and are subsequently denounced as such will affect not only the insurgent groups’ sense of grievance, but also legitimize the use of repressive tactics by the police (Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989: 158–61). The cultural level attempts to conceptualize the shared culture and experiences of the aggrieved groups. In particular it emphasizes their views towards the police and how they see their own actions as legitimate. Thus the dissatisfied group has negative stereotypes of the police and the police have equally stereotypical views of those in the crowd. At the contextual level, the communication processes prior to a violent event are examined. Factors such as rumour, a history of recent poor relationships between police and those in the crowd and media sensitization of the event are considered at this level. The immediate spatial and social contexts of the disorder are examined at the situational level. The symbolic status of the location of the encounter between the police and the crowd is recognized here. This may represent areas that the crowd seeks to exclude the police from, or that the police see as important to control. Such places may offer targets for attack by members of the crowd, for example, particular buildings or vehicles that the police may then try to defend. Also included at this level is the style of policing of the event, such as if the police are wearing ‘riot gear’ or normal uniforms and the effectiveness of command and control. Finally the micro social interactional level refers to the face-


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to-face encounters between the crowd and the police and this is the level at which a flashpoint may occur (Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989: 161–7). Although the authors are at pains to distinguish their flashpoints model from Smelser’s account (Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989: 169–77), they do share some common weaknesses. There is a preoccupation in both with creating a theoretical model of disorder that is produced through a procedure of generalization. As Keith (1993: 80) has argued, this tends to produce an analysis that conflates events such as urban riots, picket line violence and football violence that have quite different origins and histories. Although they conceptualize the crowd very differently – Smelser sees it as irrational, whilst Waddington et al. do not – they do tend to treat it as being homogenous, as having common purpose. For Waddington et al. this produces a rather reified view of the crowd, its actions, its composition and its cultural identity. For instance, in the discussion of the 1980s urban riots, key factors are reduced to the culture of young African-Caribbean men, criminality and policing. This reification tends, in the words of Michael Keith (1993: 81), to produce: ‘… a conception of civil unrest which can never come to terms with the complexity of individual intentions and purposes and, at worst, lends credibility to explanations of disorder divorced from social context and devoid of political content’. The result of Waddington et al.’s account is a description of the factors thought to be necessary for violence to break out. As Rule (1988) has argued with respect to Smelser, such statements are difficult to assess empirically, due to their lack of precision. They fail to specify the causal mechanisms or processes that produce the effects that they purport to explain. In the case of Waddington et al., for instance, we are not told how much economic inequality at the macro structural level is necessary to be sufficient for disorder to break out, how little political representation should there be at the political or ideological level, what exactly is it about the cultural beliefs of a group that produces violence, exactly how does a history of conflict between groups and the police produce future conflicts? The answers when they are forthcoming are descriptions of events and behaviour. Apart from the actual flashpoint itself there is nothing in Waddington et al.’s model that would not lead us to believe that collective violence on the streets of Britain would be an everyday routine occurrence. A further problem relates to the use of macro and micro metaphors in Waddington et al.’s account. As Mouzelis (1995) has persuasively argued, such a distinction is highly problematic as it is unable to adequately specify the relationship between micro interaction and the macro structures. For the flashpoints model the macro seems to be the context of the micro interaction. For most sociologists using this distinction, the macro is either an aggregation or representation of micro interactions. For Waddington et al. this consideration is missing entirely. Mouzelis suggests that the solution lies in focusing on how social hierarchies relate to this distinction. Consequently, micro interactions between powerful people may have macro consequences for the wider society, but the micro interaction amongst the less powerful does not. From the perspective of Waddington et al., it may be objected that they are considering issues of power and hierarchy, as they emphasize at various points the role of economic inequalities, political exclusion or the power of the police. However, these are theorized as operating at different levels. The significance

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of Mouzelis’ point is that social hierarchies define the relationships between micro and macro phenomena. In the context of a riot, the consequences of decisions taken by senior police officers and politicians have much greater scope and impact than those taken by a handful of the crowd. There is a considerable power imbalance between those in the crowd and the authorities that tends to slide away from the analysis in the flashpoints model. This becomes most apparent when they tend to treat the police and the crowd in an equitable fashion in terms of their situational and interactional levels. There are also problems with the way in which the concept of a flashpoint is deployed. It requires that the crowd uniformly interprets the flashpoint in the same way. This may not indeed be the case, although admittedly a sufficient number must interpret it in a way that induces similar actions in response to it. It also seems to assume that there is a singular flashpoint. Indeed there may not be. These points are highlighted in Waddington’s recent discussion of the Bradford riot of July 2001, where he refuses to provide an analysis of this because of the lack of consensus in the various sources about ‘the course of events’ (Waddington, 2007: 109). This is indeed one of the central problems of considering all events of this type, namely that they are essentially contested events. There is rarely a clear consensus in the available accounts as to precisely what happened. Their very character as essentially contested events should be the object of analysis, rather than trying to impose some objective consensus about what really happened. A Critical Consensus? There appears to be a widespread consensus that the British urban riots of the 1980s were ultimately motivated by some common grievance such as injustice or deprivation. For instance, variations of this claim can be found in Benyon (1984), Gilroy (2002), Scarman (1982), Kettle and Hodges (1982), Reicher (1984), Lea and Young (1982) and Waddington, Jones and Critcher (1989). P.A.J. Waddington (1991; 1994) provides the most sustained and detailed critique of what he terms the ‘critical consensus’. Whilst we sympathize with much of the argument developed within this body of literature, in their hurry to speak on behalf of the underdog when the bulk of the media and mainstream politicians were vilifying and criminalizing rioters as irrational ‘mad dogs’, they did indeed fall into many of the traps that P.A.J. Waddington so incisively indicts them for. He sees this critical consensus as motivated to dispel the idea that riots are mindless mobs, and that those of the 1980s were in some way unprecedented. In place of theories of the ‘mindless mob’, P.A.J. Waddington sees the critical consensus creating a theory of riots as politically motivated protest. The riots of the 1980s were to be understood as rational attempts to make the authorities respond to the grievances of inner city residents. Consequently, the critical consensus sees the emphasis on improved equipment and training for the police as at best ignoring the underlying structural inequalities giving rise to riots, or at worst exacerbating the situation and risking the provocation of further disturbances (P.A.J. Waddington, 1991: 220–51).


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For P.A.J. Waddington, the critical consensus argues that the progressive political incorporation of the working class during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries led to the decline of violent class conflict, and that the marginalized groups involved in riots during the 1980s require a similar treatment. Indeed some have subsequently shown that this was precisely what happened at the level of the local state after the 1981 riots (for example, Farrar, 1999). Whilst he is in broad agreement with this incorporation thesis, he argues that the critical consensus applies this explanation selectively. Whilst urban riots of the 1980s are explained in terms of legitimate grievances, other instances of collective violence are not. Here he seems to be making the unwarranted assumption that the same forms of behaviour – large groups of people behaving violently towards the police – should share the same underlying cause or causes. In our view this is an extreme version of the reification of the crowd that has the effect of essentializing the causes of their actions. Yet in advancing this criticism, P.A.J. Waddington does make some important points with which we concur, for example, where he suggests that analysts have effectively imputed to the rioters motivations related to social injustice (P.A.J. Waddington, 1991: 228). In relation to those approaches that emphasize the role of a precipitating event (Smelser, 1962) or flashpoint (Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989), he argues persuasively that there is an explanatory deficit in these accounts which fails to specify why that particular incident caused the riot to ensue, when many other apparently similar incidents failed to do so (P.A.J. Waddington, 1991: 230). He goes on to point out that some flashpoints occurred hours or even days before violence began. Temporal proximity of a flashpoint is of little aid in helping us decide. Furthermore he argues that the significance of a flashpoint depends upon how people interpret an event or action, but he sees this as undercutting the ability of the analyst to identify with certainty any particular flashpoint (P.A.J. Waddington, 1991: 232). Finally, he suggests that Waddington et al. always see a flashpoint as involving a police action to which the crowd reacts. For us this is a significant point, as the potential flashpoints for the riots in 2001 did not necessarily involve the police, but the actions of white neo-fascists. He also raises the issue of mobilization, noting as many other analysts of social movements and protests before him have done that grievances are not enough for protest to develop. There are many intermediating factors between grievances and collective action that seeks to address those grievances. He goes on to argue that we need to examine the nature of the rioters’ beliefs about their deprivations, and that this is something that analysts of the 1980s riots simply failed to do. Rather he accuses them of imputing beliefs to those involved after the riots had occurred (P.A.J. Waddington, 1991: 234). Whilst this may be the case for many accounts of the 1980s riots, it does not necessarily mean that these approaches are mortally flawed. Precisely this set of methodological problems besets the social sciences generally. Rather it lays down a challenge to the analysts to produce data that show that their interpretations of events are the most plausible ones, and that they remain the most plausible until alternative theories or evidence are produced to replace them with more convincing accounts. Such is the ‘transitive’ character of all knowledge (Bhaskar, 1975). That is what we are attempting to offer here. We think we present the most plausible

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account of the 2001 riots, given the limitations of our data and the current state of theoretical knowledge of these types of phenomena. Nevertheless, his point that: ‘… it is difficult to establish that inner-city rioters possessed any coherent set of felt grievances prior to the rioting’ (P.A.J. Waddington, 1991: 234) is well taken. We cannot simply assume the ideological unity of the crowd before, during or after the riot. P.A.J. Waddington goes on to suggest that the 1980s riots, unlike those in the USA during the 1960s, were unconnected to any wider social movement, and they are thus more like elementary forms of collective behaviour. There are a number of problems with this argument. Some of the riots during the 1980s were closely connected to ongoing anti-racist movements (Cowell, Jones and Young, 1982). Furthermore, those involved in riots do no have to be signed up members of an organization to be part of a social movement. Social movements have differing levels and forms of adherence, involvement and support. Further, in respect to the present discussion, the Bradford riot in particular, the immediate context of the riot was a protest organized by the Anti-Nazi League. These issues illustrate how P.A.J. Waddington has a rather narrow view of politics as involving those movements that are formally organized, and rationally guided by clearly articulated ideological positions. In his discussion of how political incorporation has rendered political violence irrelevant (P.A.J. Waddington, 1991: 240), he focuses upon formal political developments rather than the substantive ways in which they really work or do not work. This conceptual sleight of hand enables him to present a more positive picture of how British democracy and civil and political citizenship actually work in practice. The contradiction between formal and substantive citizenship may actually be at the core of the grievances that some rioters at least may be motivated by. Certainly their identities as British citizens are, as we shall argue below, central to the British Pakistani second generations’ views about the riots in 2001. The British Social Psychologists and the Elaborated Social Identity Model The work of Reicher and his colleagues is the most sustained programme of empirical work on crowd behaviour in the UK and encompasses not just urban riots, but also various kinds of political demonstrations as well as football hooliganism. Originally presented as a model of the social identity of the crowd, and later developed into an identity-based account of inter-group conflict, the early work was highly influential as an analysis of the 1980s urban riots. In this literature, Le Bon is criticized for having a theory without evidence, where the crowd is removed from its social context and seen as being without grievances, beliefs or police in opposition to them. This leads to the reification and pathologization of the crowd, whose actions are seen as meaningless. Individual identity is seen as being submerged within the crowd (Reicher, 2001). Nevertheless, Reicher’s version of self-categorization theory suggests a parallel process where crowds consist of individuals whose actions shift from being individually determined to being collectively driven: ‘Consequently, the shift from individual to group behaviour involves a shift from personal to social


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identity and hence the emergence of cultural standards as a basis for behavioural control’ (Reicher, 1996: 116). Thus many of the problems of the Le Bonian perspective are retained: the loss of personal identity, the narrow focus on the crowd action without the wider context, the failure to recognize the diversity within the crowd, and the failure to notice the non-linear intermittent nature of much crowd behaviour as identified in many US studies of urban riots (Abudu Stark et al., 1974; McPhail, 1971; Oberschall, 1993), and indeed another study of the Bristol riot in Reicher’s study (Joshua and Wallace, 1983). The pre-existence of groups within the crowd before it develops is noted, but this is often simply in terms of ‘ordinary crowd members’ versus ‘the radicals’. In response to police actions, the ordinary members become radicalized, and the crowd comes to have a cohesive collective identity. This switch from personal to social identity is a problem common to the wider social identity paradigm in social psychology, as noted by Huddy (2001). She argues that this counterposing of personal to social identity is at odds with the evidence, where people adopt social identities to varying degrees between a strong group identity and their unique persona. The elaborated social identity model (ESIM) builds upon the early work of Reicher (1984) and has been applied to a variety of crowds, and principally this has involved examining the role of the police and the sense of empowerment that crowd participants sometimes report. It entails four principal claims. Firstly, that members of a crowd act in relation to their social identities. These identities are understood in terms of their position in relation to other social groups and what kinds of actions they see as possible and desirable given their social positioning. Secondly, crowds are seen as involved in intergroup interactions. Whilst the members of the crowd, the ‘in-group’, may understand themselves and their actions in terms of their own social identity, the members of the ‘out-group’, typically the police, may interpret the actions of the crowd quite differently. Thirdly, when there is an asymmetry of perceptions and judgements of the crowd between the crowd members and the police, so that the police see the crowd as being illegitimate and act on this perception, then the social position of the crowd will change. Typically, this involves the police trying to disperse the crowd or prevent the crowd from carrying out its preferred course of action. This change in the social location of the crowd results in a change in the crowd’s social identity. Following from this there is a transformation of the behaviour of the crowd in line with its new social identity (Drury and Reicher, 2000: 597). One effect of this is for the crowd to take up a more ‘extreme’ or ‘radical’ social identity against the police: ‘… a police presence unifies the crowd, creates the conditions under which “moderates” move to the “extreme” position while the “extremists” stay put’ (Drury and Reicher, 2000: 598). This formulation also shares many characteristics of what McPhail (1991: 13–20) criticized as the transformation hypothesis. It also assumes that there are ‘extremists’ there in the first place. Furthermore, the idea is very similar to Turner and Killian’s concept of a ‘keynoter’, where individuals within a crowd may speak or act in response to a new event experienced by the crowd in a way that shifts the perception of the majority of the crowd of the situation (Turner and Killian, 1987: 59). Indeed, in an overview paper of much of this research, Reicher (2001) has argued that normally members of the crowd see themselves as moderates who

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react against the illegitimate actions of the police. The overall consequence is to create a singular collective social identity within the crowd that leads to a sense of empowerment. This is understood as a feeling of confidence in the ability to act to change circumstances (Drury and Reicher, 2005; Drury et al., 2005). However, the focus of this sense of empowerment is very much a subjective one, and there is little analysis of what may sustain it over time. This work gives the notion of social identity a remarkable degree of both superficiality and fluidity. Superficial as it seems that they label how individuals have an apparently common interpretation of police actions, for instance, as being an expression of some shared social identity or other. These common perceptions are formed in a matter of moments and shift quite quickly, hence their fluidity. This tends to rule out the wider social context and the broader stronger identities that members of the crowd bring with them to the situation. It tends to rule out of the analysis the wider structural context and important past events. Crowds are presented as over-creative in both the actions they engage in and the social identities that they supposedly construct in their conflict with the police. This is not to dismiss entirely the importance of changes in behaviour that occur within crowds, but merely to note how Reicher and his colleagues have exaggerated the power of the crowd to transform identity, and how it rests on a crude dichotomy between ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’. The neglect of strong, powerful and relatively enduring identities such as ethnicity by the social identity paradigm within social psychology more generally has been noted by Huddy (2001). She also notes that the social identity paradigm apparently has no place for identity choice. Whilst we find this a rather problematic formulation, it does highlight the situation that many British South Asians find themselves in. Debates around cultural hybridity and the idea of second-generation British South Asians as cultural navigators have shown how there are a range of powerful and enduring identities available around citizenship, ethnicity and religion (see, for example, Hussain and Bagguley, 2005; 2007). Furthermore, Huddy argues that there are significant differences between social groups in the extent to which they are free to acquire identities. Some social groups are relatively closed and relatively weak in their capacity to resist the imposition of negative identities upon them. These were precisely the processes under way at the time of the riots in 2001. An additional shortcoming outlined by Huddy lies in the paradigm’s neglect of the meaning and subjectivity of social identity and how they may vary within a group. For instance, as we shall see, Britishness means very different things to young as compared to older British Pakistanis in Bradford, and we believe that this played a key role in understanding the riots, their views about them and the consequences. As Huddy has noted, much of the social identity paradigm inspired research that has focused upon groups without meaning. Many of the studies by Reicher et al. treat crowds as masses of individuals who lacked social identities before they formed the crowd in contrast to more enduring social identities such as ethnicity (Huddy, 2001: 147). Methodologically, Reicher and his colleagues often emphasize how they are using triangulation to enhance the quality of their data, and in particular to present evidence for which there is a consensus in the different data sources that they use. From our perspective this is highly problematic. It has the effect of ruling out of


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court considerations of the diversity of the meaning of the events for the actors involved. One consequence of this is that it may be methodologically manufacturing the impression of a common crowd identity. Its pursuit of an overly scientistic conception of the truth of what happened fails to adequately recognize that in both political and epistemological terms, riots are essentially contested events. This is what is advantageous in King and Waddington’s (2004) analysis of the Burnley riot and Joshua and Wallace’s (1983) analysis of the trial after the 1980s Bristol riot, where they examine the disparities between the officially reported police versions of events and what individual police officers said in evidence in open court. Furthermore, we would suggest that this essentially contested character of riots extends from views about the reasons for the riots, through what actually happened on the day, to the fairness and legitimacy of the state’s responses through the criminal justice system and other institutions. Conclusions Much of what has passed for the analysis of violent crowds, riots and similar collective violence has been characterized by a failure to define precisely what it seeks to explain, a lack of empirical evidence to support its claims and the use of a reified view of those involved and the meaning of their actions. In this chapter we have shown how difficult it is to overcome these problems that originate with the contributions of those such as Le Bon and Tarde. First and foremost, the type of crowd that we are concerned to analyse here is that which engages in violent collective conflict with the police in situations of ethnic or racial hostility. Attempts to produce general accounts of crowd behaviour that include such instances inevitably reify crowd actions through their spurious assumption that simply because some actions apparently have the same form, then they are to be explained by the same or similar causes. Consequently, we do not seek to construct yet another general theory or model of violent disorder. Rather, following on from those such as the third wave of American theorists, historians such as Rude (1981) and sociologists such as Keith (1993), in the following chapters we seek to place violent disorder in its local and historical context. In the next chapter we examine the economic and social conditions of Oldham, Burnley and Bradford, but we also attempt to provide summary accounts of the public knowledge about the riots in 2001. As Bradford provides the case for the analysis in the later chapters, we pay particular attention to the local history of political conflict around racial issues and policing in that city. It goes without saying that this is necessarily a brief and contested summary. We then move on to consider accounts of how the violence began in Bradford. This begins to highlight one of the conceptual and methodological issues that we are keen to highlight, that riots are essentially contested events. Through the analysis of interviews of people from the Pakistani community, those who were present and those who were not, we see that there is no community consensus on what happened and what caused the violence. We then move on to consider the dynamics of the crowd during the riot. Here we begin to examine the faces in the crowd. From the

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available evidence, both from our own interviews and arrest data, we highlight another important theoretical theme – the diversity of the crowd. This diversity was first highlighted by the work of the third wave of American analyses of crowd violence, and is also found in the work of Keith (1993), for example. This diversity operates at a number of levels. Firstly, what may be termed demographic diversity, especially in terms of age. Secondly, there is diversity of action. Thirdly, diversity of the meaning of the events for those involved. Rather than developing and then testing a general theoretical model of collective violence, we suggest that it is better to ask theoretical informed questions of whatever empirical data is to hand in a way that is sensitive to the complex and contradictory nature of that evidence. Only in this way can the pernicious problem of reification of the crowd be avoided.

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Chapter 2

The Riots of 2001: An Overview and Comparison of Oldham, Burnley and Bradford In this chapter we provide an overview of the riots of the spring and summer of 2001, before going on to consider the Bradford riot in more detail. We discuss the events in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford, their different contexts and the responses to them, enabling us to put the Bradford events into some kind of comparative context. These sections draw upon previously published sources as well as newspaper reports of the events themselves and of the trials of those involved in the disturbances. However, before considering the riots themselves we provide an overview of the three localities where the riots took place, especially focusing upon the ethnic composition of the local population. This is then followed by a discussion of the debate around the criminalization of South Asian Muslim men, that is comparable to the criminalization of African-Caribbean men prior to the 1980s, and has played a central role in the context of the riots and how they have been subsequently understood in wider British society. Ethnoscapes of the Post-industrial North The ethnic compositions of the three northern towns where the main riots took place in 2001 have similar yet distinct histories. They share these histories to varying degrees with other former textile towns in the north of England where riots did not occur in 2001, so there is little here that can provide a definitive explanation of why the riots happened in these particular locations. That can only be understood through an examination of the shorter term localized social and political processes that led up to the riots. Much was made after the riots about issues of the spatial segregation of different ethnic groups in these towns, but issues regarding wider economic and social conditions were less frequently raised (Cantle, 2001; Ouseley, 2001). Those who did raise these questions of economic and social conditions did so with limited data, typically pointing out the high levels of unemployment, or the positions of certain neighbourhoods in national rankings of social deprivation (Allen, 2003; Amin, 2002; Kundnani, 2001). We do not seek to resolve these issues here, as others have addressed these specialized and technical questions (for example, Simpson, 2003). Our efforts are more modest and merely attempt to provide some context about contemporary economic and social conditions in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham.


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We begin with an overview of the ethnic composition of Bradford, Burnley and Oldham. Bradford stands out as having a substantial minority of Pakistani origin (14.5 per cent), whilst Burnley and Oldham, with 4.9 per cent and 6.3 per cent, have much smaller Pakistani communities as a proportion of their populations (Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census). All three towns are still predominantly white British places. This ethnic composition is also reflected in the percentages of the population reporting themselves as Muslims in the 2001 Census as 16.1 for Bradford, 11.1 for Oldham and 6.6 for Burnley. In each of the towns, the principal South Asian communities are very young compared to the white British community. Indeed well over a third of them are aged under 16 (Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census). In comparison to England and Wales as a whole, we can see that these are still predominantly working class towns, especially Oldham and Burnley. Whilst in England and Wales overall a majority of people have white-collar or middle class occupations, the reverse is true for these three towns where well over 50 per cent of those in employment have blue-collar or working class occupations. However, within Burnley, Oldham and Bradford there are ethnically segmented local labour markets. The precise patterns are quite complex and vary considerably between each locality. Broadly speaking, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are less likely than the white British employees to be found in higher level occupations, and more likely to be found in lower level blue-collar or working class occupations. For instance, machine operatives seem to form an ethnic enclave for Pakistani employees, with over 20 per cent of them employed there in each case, whilst elementary occupations account for over 20 per cent of the Bangladeshi employees in each town (Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census). Overall then, South Asians in each of the towns are concentrated in the worst and lowest paid jobs in three towns which already have concentrations of that type of employment. Not surprisingly, given their working class character, Burnley, Oldham and Bradford are more dependent on manufacturing employment than the country as a whole. However, the pattern of ethnic segmentation of the labour market in terms of the sectors is more complex than this suggests. Whilst manufacturing remains an important source of employment for Pakistanis in each place, the wholesale and retail sector is now the most important enclave for them, with between a quarter and a third of those in employment involved in those sectors (Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census). However, we should resist the temptation to see this as a product of the stereotypical ‘Asian corner shop’ phenomenon, as we suspect much of this employment is of young Pakistanis by the larger retail stores that now dominate this sector everywhere. Hotels and restaurants are by far the most important sector for Bangladeshis in each case, with between 35 and 41 per cent employed therein, and this reflects the national pattern where many so-called Asian or Indian restaurants are run by or largely employ Bangladeshis (Modood et al., 1997: 109). Transport is also an important sector for Pakistanis, and this reflects the emergence of the Pakistani taxi sector (Kalra, 2000). Following redundancy and facing continued unemployment, this has been a relatively easy sector of self-employment and employment to enter. In the financial services sector, Burnley and Oldham stand out

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for having Bangladeshis and Pakistanis under-represented in this employment, and this is indeed the case for much of the rest of the service sector. The issues of unemployment, levels of full-time employment and how these are differentiated by age and gender were important themes of much of the post-riot debate (Allen, 2003; Amin, 2002; 2003, Kundnani, 2001). For those aged 16–24, the core group with which much of the post-riot debate was concerned, in each of the three towns, but especially in Oldham, Bangladeshi and Pakistani males in this age group had much lower levels of full-time employment, higher levels of unemployment and involvement in higher education than white British men of the same age. For Pakistanis, unemployment rates are broadly twice those for white men, and they are twice as likely to be students. For those aged 25 and over, there was a similar pattern with higher levels of unemployment and lower levels of full-time employment for Pakistani and Bangladeshi men compared to white men (Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census). The labour market positions of younger and older South Asians in the three localities are very similar, and some of the post-riot debates have exaggerated these differences as a pseudo-explanation for the riots. In addition, at a national level Pakistani and Bangladeshi men and women were typically earning less than white men and women in 2004. Men in particular were earning hourly incomes of about two thirds of those of white men (Low Pay Commission, 2005: tables 4.6 and 4.7). Qualification levels, particularly in higher education, have become increasingly significant in order to gain access to the most secure and best remunerated forms of employment. Furthermore, younger second-generation British South Asians have been at the forefront of the growth in admissions to higher education since the 1980s (Hussain and Bagguley, 2007). We examined the highest levels of education (level 4/5 being equivalent to the university degree or higher) in comparison to those with no qualifications in the three towns where the major disturbances took place in 2001. The nature of this data being made up of age groups means that it captures some aspects of the growth in qualifications. Here we find a picture in each of the three localities that is replicated nationally (Hussain and Bagguley, 2007: 12–13), namely that the younger age groups are more likely to have higher level qualifications, and the older age groups more likely to have no qualifications at all. Moreover, this difference seems to be more striking for the South Asian minorities, especially the Bangladeshis, than for the majority white population in Burnley, Oldham and Bradford (Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census). However, this generalization obscures some critically important issues. Firstly, amongst the youngest age group, those under 25, between a quarter and a third of the South Asians have no qualifications, but only a fifth of the white population do so. Secondly, there are some detailed local variations. For instance, in Burnley more Pakistanis aged 25 to 34 have higher level qualifications than whites in the same age group, but the reverse is the case in Bradford (Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census). Thirdly, the data seem to suggest that amongst the younger second-generation Pakistanis and Bangladeshis there is emerging a polarization between those with no educational qualifications and those going on to obtain higher levels of education. However, as we shall see in later chapters, this is not reflected in any clear way amongst those involved in the riots.


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In this section we have examined a range of basic quantitative data regarding the labour market and material conditions in Burnley, Oldham and Bradford. These are far from comprehensive, and we have avoided more detailed description1 and analytical statistical techniques. On the contrary, our aim has been to convey some of the main economic and social divisions associated with the three main ethnic groups involved in the riots in 2001. However, these patterns of economic and social inequality between ethnic groups in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford do not help us to explain the violence. In many respects this is comparable to the situation in the British inner cities of the 1980s where riots took place (Benyon, 1987). There is evidence of widespread economic and social deprivation, but this does little to help us explain why collective violence occurs. However, the processes of criminalization of African-Caribbean men over a long period of time has been persuasively argued by some to have been a key factor (Keith, 1993). It is to the debates around the criminalization of South Asian Muslim men that we now turn. The Criminalization of Bangladeshi and Pakistani Men It is now widely recognized that since the 1980s there has been a progressive construction of South Asian men, in particular South Asian Muslim men of Bangladeshi and Pakistani descent, as criminogenic in the media, political debate and to a surprisingly large extent amongst some academic analyses (Alexander, 2000a; 2000b). Whilst it is tempting to draw parallels with the construction of young African-Caribbean men in a similar fashion during the 1970s and 1980s, there is a distinctive dynamic and symbolism at work in the representation of South Asian men as the dangerous criminal ‘other’ in contemporary urban Britain. Central to these distinctive characteristics of the discourse around the new dangerous folk devil are the themes of culture, religion and most recently terrorism. The last of these has become most powerful since the riots, of course, but is now centrally implicated in how the riots are remembered in a lot of public discourse and policy debate. Our principal aim here is to outline how young Bangladeshi and Pakistani men had become constructed in academic and public debates as the new folk devils prior to the riots. Whilst the construction of the young African-Caribbean man as folk devil received much critical academic attention in the 1970s and 1980s (for example, Hall et al., 1978; Gilroy, 2002), the same cannot be said in relation to the construction of young Bangladeshi and Pakistani men as the folk devils of the new millennium. Indeed what accounts there are, such as Alexander (2000a; 2000b), Goodey (2001) and Webster (1997; 2003) are problematic to varying degrees. The works of those such as Goodey and Webster lie on a kind of boundary, producing on the one hand some insightful critical analyses of how this process of social construction has developed, yet on the other seemingly accepting the dominant terms of debate in seeking explanations of criminal actions in terms of ethnicity. Thus Goodey, for example, in a rather cursory look at the official crime statistics refers to: ‘… the fact 1

Detailed tabulations of the data are available from the authors on request.

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that South Asians, and some South Asians in particular, do commit crime and have consistently, over the past few years, been imprisoned for crimes of a particular nature’ (Goodey, 2001: 432). Here we see her reservations about the problematic nature of the statistical evidence cast aside in her eagerness to assert as a ‘fact’ that South Asians commit certain types of crime. Furthermore, it is particular South Asians, in this case Pakistanis, that are most prone to commit crime, and furthermore crimes of a particular nature, namely drugs-related offences. Contradictory evidence from a self-report survey is cast aside, as young white people are assumed to brag about their offences, thus reported more of them, whilst Goodey approvingly quotes Graham and Bowling (1995) to the effect that young South Asians may wish to conceal their crimes. This is a remarkably candid academic expression of the orientalist vision of the ‘devious Asian’. She goes on to assert that: ‘Young Asian men are complicit in their own negative labelling and, in the same way, are partially responsible for their aggressive and criminal actions …’ (Goodey, 2001: 446). In the end, despite all the careful postmodern commentary about the complex interaction of ethnicity, gender, class,and so on, and the social construction of social problems, young Pakistani men are simply bad boys who ‘choose’ a life of crime. In a similar fashion, Webster hedges his discussion with references to the critical literature on the new discourses constituting young South Asian men as the new folk devils. However, he concludes that Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities of uneducated adults from Kashmir and Sylhet have become an ‘underclass’ whose culture is breaking down. The explanation thus resorts to the rehearsal of the tired old stereotype of ‘culture clash’ (for example, Ghuman, 1994), where Asian parents are now unable to control a rebellious younger generation: The overall conclusion, sadly, is that the Asian parent culture, like the police and other control agencies, has been unable to address, accommodate or engage with the social and cultural experiences of large sectors of its young people, caught as they are between essentialist and fixed notions of cultural tradition, and the realities of Muslim cultural flux and experimentation (Webster, 1997: 79–80).

This remarkable combination of two tired, old and intellectually discredited images – the underclass and culture clash – again undermines the author’s efforts to fully understand the social construction of the wider discourses about Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities. Whilst in the 1980s the underclass thesis circulated around academic and policy debates as a moralistic attempt to blame the poor for their poverty (Bagguley and Mann, 1992), so it now functions to blame South Asian parents for their failure to control ‘their’ young men. In a parallel fashion, the culture clash thesis of the 1980s sought to explain an assumed breakdown of the South Asian family, so that now it is mobilized to ‘explain’ the crime of young South Asian men. This all flies in the face of wider evidence of change in the views and practices of both first-generation South Asian parents (for example, Anwar, 1998) and younger South Asians born in the UK, who are increasingly taking up opportunities in higher education, for example (Hussain and Bagguley, 2007). Such bald statements about the emergence of an Asian underclass and the static character of the culture of South


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Asian parents are quite simply as essentializing as the discourses that these authors claim to be critiquing. What is deeply worrying about some of these academic contributions is that they arise from otherwise quite critical traditions of thought and analysis, but are complicit in the populist construction of the new Bangladeshi and Pakistani demons of the street. This was a feature that also characterized the debates around ‘black criminality’ in the 1980s (Gilroy, 2002: 142; Keith, 1993). What some contemporary academic commentators on South Asian crime (for example, Goodey, 2001; Webster, 1997) fail to do is appreciate the importance of Gilroy’s argument in relation to the debates about young African-Caribbean men and crime in the 1980s: The extent to which it is empirically demonstrable is not of primary concern here. The argument against it should not be read as a denial of the fact that blacks engage in criminal acts … It is no betrayal of black interests to say that blacks commit crime, or that black law-breaking is always related to poverty as law-breaking is always related to poverty. The possibility of a direct relationship between ethnicity, black culture and crime is an altogether different and more complex issue … I am concerned here with the history of representations of black criminality and in particular with the elaboration of the idea that black law-breaking is an integral element of black culture … and seek to show instead how obsessive concern with black law-breaking has come to sit at the centre of contemporary racist thought (Gilroy, 2002: 89–90).

Only Alexander’s (2000a; 2000b; 2004) work has come anywhere near to fulfilling such a goal in relation to populist discourses around young Bangladeshi and Pakistani men. Central to this picture in her account is the rise of the image of the Asian gang. This is a profoundly gendered development in populist and policy discourses. Such arguments suggest that whilst young Bangladeshi and Pakistani women apparently need defending from forced marriages and male violence (Ahmad, 2006; Wilson, 2007), the rest of ‘us’ need defending from the young men from the same backgrounds. In this way a nice, neat liberal-left political trick is performed – tough on crime, but the demands for the equal treatment of women are addressed. Consequently, the concerns with crime and Islamic fundamentalism are presented solely as male issues (for example, Macey, 1999). South Asian men are no longer stereotyped in media and political discourses as passive feminized victims, but as the new aggressors. For instance, academic contributors to this discourse such as Macey (1999) assert that these new male Islamic identities arise not from economic, social and political exclusions, but are to be understood as attempts to reassert control over women that are inherent to ‘their’ culture. A second theme in the new re-worked anti-Asian Islamophobic discourses is the question of intergenerational conflict. As we have seen from our discussion of Webster’s work, the explanation for this is presented as being in the supposedly fixed and unchanging traditional culture of uneducated foreign-born parents, rather then broader economic, social and political processes. The third theme in Alexander’s account is religion and the focus upon Islamic fundamentalism, an issue that has literally mushroomed in its significance since her work. As we saw with Webster’s contribution, this not only appears as a moral panic about a new ‘enemy within’ when its more organized political forms are considered, but also as part of the atavistic parental culture that has led to the formation of an

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emergent Muslim underclass from which the new criminals are graduating. All of this marks a re-working of the meaning of ethnicity as it is imposed upon South Asian communities by others. Whilst previously the concern was to define ethnicity in this context in terms of supposedly traditional, fixed and internally homogenous collectivities based upon the national origins of the initial migrants, this has now shifted to focus upon religion as the defining characteristic. In particular Muslims are now seen as the most problematic group, and the ones who are reluctant to assimilate, the most deprived and the most dangerous. Alexander traces these developments through reports in popular media during the 1990s. Whilst her focus is upon the representations of the Asian ‘gang’, her account does a disservice to those who are implicated in this. Many would not necessarily see themselves as Asian, but as British Muslims, British Bangladeshis or British Pakistanis (Hussain and Bagguley, 2007; Jacobson, 1997). In this way she is imposing her own politics of ethnic identification on those about whom she is otherwise so reflexive and inclusive. Her continued use of the category also reproduces the dominant homogenizing category of Asian. Similarly, it also reflects a peculiarly metropolitan focus. How far do the experiences of Bangladeshis in London readily translate to the smaller towns and cities in the north of England? How far does the Bangladeshi experience translate to young Pakistani men? After all, were their parents not born thousands of kilometres apart, and their nations engaged in a bloody civil war until the 1970s? In these ways, her arguments against the recognition of the diversity amongst British South Asians does an injustice to their experiences. Finally, Goodey (2001) has suggested that the moral panic over ‘Asian crime’ takes particular local forms and is, furthermore, particularly concerned with drug offences rather than the gang-based inter-ethnic conflicts that have so obsessed London-based commentators. For the most part these have been national level debates or the concerns of metropolitan London (Alexander, 2000a; 2000b; 2004). Nevertheless they are about particular ethnic and religious groups in specific locations, such as Bangladeshi men in the East End of London. However, these discourses have also interacted with the local situations in the north of England, and formed a substantial frame through which the riots were understood not just locally but nationally, as well in the media and amongst politicians. We shall see this framing in practice in the following sections and later chapters. The Oldham Disturbances During the 1980s Oldham was selected for a study comparing a variety of ethnically diverse localities in the wake of the 1981 urban disorders. Ironically Oldham was chosen because there were no riots there in 1981, and the researchers felt that compared to Moss Side in Manchester, where there were disturbances, it had a similar level of deprivation yet police–community relations were ‘peaceful and co-operative’ (Parry, Moyser and Wagstaffe, 1987: 236). What a difference 20 years can make. Indeed, the focus of the 1980s research in Oldham – the neighbourhood of Glodwick – became one of the centres of conflict in 2001. Oldham became synonymous with


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all that is seen by some to be wrong in terms of ethnic relations. Furthermore, poor relationships between the police and local communities in Oldham were important issues in the town prior to 2001 (Ray and Smith, 2004). In the years and months prior to the disturbances in Oldham from 26 May 2001 onwards, officially recorded racially motivated crime against white residents of the town were higher than anywhere else in Greater Manchester. For example, in 1999–2000 over 50 per cent of the recorded victims of these incidents were white, over one third of the total for whites for Manchester as a whole (Ray and Smith, 2004: 687). The processes through which such data are constructed are open to considerable criticism. Such crimes have to be reported to the police, and there is evidence that they tend to be under-reported, especially where the police are not trusted by ethnic minorities, as was the case in Oldham (Hesse et al., 1992; Islamic Human Rights Commission, 2001). The police themselves have to be convinced that the crime was racially motivated, as there is evidence that they can be resistant to this in some circumstances. Certain types of racist crime are also more likely to be reported than others in the context of heightened political and media attention, as was the case in Oldham where the focus on crimes by groups of South Asian men received disproportionate attention. There is evidence from investigations into other forces that the collection of such data can be actively managed to meet targets or to present a certain image to the outside world for political purposes, although there is no direct evidence of such practices on Oldham. Finally, since the raw data and the processes through which it is collected and recorded are confidential, they are not open to independent quality control and verification (Islamic Human Rights Commission, 2001). The release of these statistics to the media and how they were interpreted by some senior police officers and some sections of the local media heightened the sense of conflict between the white and South Asian communities in Oldham. The account from the police was that during the 1990s, gangs of young South Asian men had been trying to create ‘no-go’ areas for whites in certain areas of Oldham (Kalra, 2003; Waddington, 2007). In January 2001 the police figures purported to show that over 60 per cent of the racial incidents were by Asians on whites (Waddington, 2007: 99). Consequently, the local press, in particular the Oldham Chronicle, reported the rise in racist offending against whites in typically lurid terms (Ray and Smith, 2004: 691). These processes undermined the confidence of ethnic minority communities in the local police and other agencies. In such a context under-reporting of racist incidents against ethnic minority communities tends to follow, further distorting the picture represented in official statistics (Hesse et al., 1992: 132–4; Ray and Smith, 2004; Webster, 1997). The media interest in these issues led the BNP to express a stronger interest in the town as a potential area for recruitment and possible electoral contests. The central theme of this mobilization was the defence of white rights and the vilification of Muslims (Allen, 2003: 26; Eatwell, 2003; Islamic Human Rights Commission, 2001; Rhodes, 2006). Following a rally in the town on 3 March, the Party staged a protest outside the local police station against South Asian violence towards whites. This was followed up by the National Front planning a march in Oldham at the end of the month. In the wake of the opposition to the march, it was banned by the Home Office, but this was

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followed by national media interest in the form of BBC’s Radio 4 reporting on the creation of no-go areas for whites in the town (Waddington, 2007: 100). Unfortunately, these events were followed by an attack by a group of South Asian youths on a 76-year-old war veteran. Although this did not take place in one of the putative ‘no-go areas’, the attack did attract further attention to the issue. National newspapers claimed that the attack was racially motivated, with headlines such as ‘Whites beware’ and ‘Beaten for being white’, despite his family arguing that it was not a racially motivated crime (Waddington, 2007: 101). Following this, the leader of the BNP announced on St George’s Day that he was going to stand in the forthcoming general election in the Oldham West constituency, and the National Front announced that it was planning a march through the town on 5 May. In the meantime, a group of Stoke City football supporters travelling to a match against Oldham Athletic in the town vandalized businesses and homes owned by South Asians in the predominantly Bangladeshi Westwood district. Furthermore, the police did not respond to requests from South Asian people to re-direct the football fans from their area after the match. The consequence was a confrontation between the Stoke City supporters and local South Asian men seeking to defend their community, and the crowds had to be dispersed by police using truncheons and dogs. The following week saw the National Front attempting to march in Oldham despite a Home Office ban. With a high profile police presence separating the NF from South Asian areas and counterdemonstrators, one man was reported to have been stabbed (Oldham Advertiser, 11 December 2001). Over the following weeks during the general election campaign, groups of members of neo-fascist organizations such as the BNP, the National Front and Combat 18 met regularly in Oldham pubs, and one of these meetings played a key role in the riots that followed (Asian News, 1 December 2001; Waddington, 2007: 101–2). On the evening of 26 May 2001, two South Asian boys aged 11 and 14 were walking along a street on the boundary of the mainly South Asian Glodwick neighbourhood and the Roundthorn area. A 16-year-old white youth threw a brick at them which struck one of them on the leg. He ran into a nearby house pursued by the victim and his 19-year-old brother. As they kicked the front door of the house, a 36-year-old white woman who lived there became alarmed and was racially abusive towards them, and attempted to slap one of them as she followed them down the street. Other South Asian youngsters became embroiled in the argument, and the woman phoned her 25-year-old brother telling him: ‘Some Pakis have kicked the door in’ (Oldham Advertiser, 10 April 2003). He had spent the day in Oldham pubs with up to 12 friends variously described as members of the neo-fascist group Combat 18, as well as the Fine Young Casuals firm of football hooligans, singing songs such as ‘Keep me English’, ‘No surrender to the IRA’ and ‘If you all hate Pakis, clap your hands’. The group arrived at the house in taxis shortly after 8.00pm, and proceeded to attack nearby South Asian people and their property with iron bars and pieces of wood. Up to 200 white people were reportedly in the area, retreating into local pubs after their attacks. Windows were smashed, and a South Asian woman, 34 weeks pregnant, had to receive hospital treatment for shock after her house was attacked (Kundnani, 2003). As a result South Asian men responded in the midst of rumours


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that the police were not responding to the attacks. The police arrested some of the South Asian men who arrived on the scene whilst protecting white people they had arrested, and at 8.45pm the police withdrew from the area. Later that evening and into the early morning, around 500 South Asian men built barricades and threw petrol bombs and other missiles at police. In addition the offices of the Oldham Evening Chronicle, a local newspaper widely seen as anti-Asian, four public houses and 32 police vehicles were damaged (Waddington, 2007: 98). It was over two years later that the 12 white defendants were tried and sentenced for their role in the riots. Despite the court accepting that they had played a key role in instigating the violence, nine men and one woman were sentenced to nine months each for affray, a 16-year-old boy received a 12-month supervision order and a 17-year-old girl a conditional discharge. In comparison, 22 South Asian men had been sentenced for an average of three and a half years in prison, and ranging up to seven years for riot for their actions during the Oldham disturbances. The 12 white defendants had originally been charged with riot by the police, but the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence, so they were tried for the lesser offences of affray and common assault (Asian News, 26 June 2003; Kundnani, 2003). The Burnley Disturbances The events in Burnley followed about a month after those in Oldham on 23 to 25 June 2001. There is an official account from the police of the disturbances in Burnley that has been critically discussed by others (King and Waddington, 2004), although it was accepted by the Burnley Task Force as an accurate account of events (Clarke, 2002: 36). Prior to the disturbances, Waddington (2007: 105) has noted how politics in the town had moved to the right. The local council was accused of giving preferential treatment to areas of South Asian residence in its investment, and there had been calls for the equal opportunities co-ordinator and translation unit to be closed. These were themes that also featured in the local Conservative Party’s submission to the Burnley Task Force (Clarke, 2002). Some years before this in 1997, Burnley Council, Pendle Council and Lancashire County Council had withdrawn funding from the local Race Equality Council, resulting in its closure after 20 years (Lancashire Evening Telegraph, 13 December 2001). Bradford racial equality council was similarly shut down in 1999–2000 (Singh, 2002). Furthermore, the BNP had recently won 21 per cent of the vote in a local authority by-election, and the party achieved its second highest vote in the area in the 2001 general election. In addition the local South Asian community had reportedly lost its trust in the police in the light of a number of incidents immediately prior to the riots (Lancashire Evening Telegraph, 25 June 2001). The focus of the disturbances in Burnley was in the north of the town in the Stoneyholme, Danehouse and Duke Bar districts. These areas are the main concentrations of ethnic minority residence in the town, with Danehouse, for example, being the heart of the local Pakistani community, and Stoneyholme that of the Bangladeshi community. Prior to the disturbances, a number of incidents have been identified as playing a role in their development, including a dispute between

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white and South Asian neighbours, an attack on a South Asian taxi driver and a series of violent incidents in the Danehouse and Colne Road areas that the police account described as being related to conflicts over drug dealing. The attack on the taxi driver was particularly significant as King and Waddington (2004: 125) argue that an unsubstantiated rumour that he had died spread among the town’s South Asian community. That evening, on Saturday 23 June, a group of white men gathered outside the ground of Burnley Football Club before attacking several South Asian-owned takeaways. After warnings were given to the South Asian family who lived there, an off-licence in the Burnley Wood district was looted and destroyed in an arson attack. Similarly, Shafi’s store in Oxford Road was looted and set on fire by white rioters. Subsequently, at around 11.00pm, around 70 South Asian men attacked the Duke of York public house in the Duke Bar district, smashing its windows and knocking two customers unconscious, and wrecking the pub with a fire bomb attack (Lancashire Evening Telegraph, 25 June 2007). The police interpretation of this was that it was an act of revenge in retaliation for the attack on the South Asian taxi driver (Clarke, 2002; King and Waddington, 2004). The Duke of York pub had been previously largely cleared of its customers on police advice amidst rumours of an attack on the premises. Many moved to a nearby pub, the Baltic House, which had a reputation as a gathering place for neofascist sympathizers (King and Waddington, 2004: 126). In addition, a member of the Commission for Racial Equality, the son of the Deputy Mayor of Burnley and the only ethnic minority member of the National Executive of the Labour Party, Shahid Malik was hit on the head by up to four police officers and required hospital treatment on the evening of 25 June. He was trying to persuade a crowd of South Asian men who were facing a line of police in full riot gear to disperse. The police subsequently arrested him on suspicion of inciting violent disorder, but the charges were dropped (The Guardian, 27 June 2007). One of the distinctive features of the Burnley disturbances compared to those in Oldham and especially Bradford was that most of those arrested for their role in them were white. At the time of their submission to the Burnley Task Force inquiry, the police had arrested 101 out of 157 of those sought for offences during the disturbances. Of these 101 around two thirds were white and the remainder were South Asian. Table 2.1 provides more details with respect to age, and this reveals that the largest single group of offenders were white men aged over 30. White middle aged man hardly fits the stereotype of the rioting South Asian youth that has dominated most debate since the riots! The largest age group are those aged 21 to 30. This illustrates how important it is to examine even this highly problematic arrest data in order to gain as accurate an understanding as possible of the faces in the crowd. The Bradford Disturbances of 1995 One of the distinctive features of Bradford in comparison to Burnley and Oldham is that it has a more widely known history of troubled political conflict involving


Table 2.1

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Age and ethnicity profile of those arrested for offences during disturbances in Burnley (percentages)

Age Group

South Asian



Under 16




17 to 20




21 to 30




Over 30




Source: Clarke, 2002, appendix 10k, Lancashire Constabulary Submission

the mobilization of local South Asian Muslims. Much of this protest dates from the 1970s and led to the creation of the South Asian Youth Movement. Later this was followed by the Honeyford affair, the protests around the publication of The Satanic Verses, and the disturbances in 1995. Thus Bradford has had a much more prominent public profile nationally and internationally in terms of the reputation of the local Pakistani community for political mobilization, and here we briefly review this history of ethnic political mobilization with a focus upon the riots of 1995 and the responses to them. The disturbances in Bradford in 1995 were the subject of a controversial report by a locally constituted inquiry (Bradford Commission, 1996). At least one member of the commission dissociated himself from its findings and recommendations on the grounds that it did not pay sufficient attention to police racism and drug dealing (Yorkshire Post, 9 July 2001). The events have also been the focus of a few academic discussions (Burlet and Reid, 1996; Goodey, 2001). Although it provides a detailed analysis of the 1995 events and their historical, social and political context, the report is problematic in certain respects. They did not speak to any of those directly involved in the riots, often describing them as trouble makers or as a criminal element, and claiming that the riots were ‘… not a rational activity’ (Bradford Commission, 1996: 2). Whilst often descriptively even handed in presenting conflicting accounts of the same events, rather than seeking some consensual account of them, their explanation of the violence is at least partly in terms of irrational criminality. Thus the report shares many of the analytical shortcomings criticized in the literature about crowds from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that we have reviewed earlier. The 1995 disturbances took place over the weekend of 9–11 June. On the evening of 9 June, a game of football was being played by local Pakistani youths in the street. Two police officers who were passing the scene claimed that they were sworn at by some of the youths, attempted to arrest some of the youths, and called five additional officers for support. The local community felt that these seven officers used unreasonable force in the arrest. Furthermore, they were accused of charging at

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bystanders with batons and a dog, and to have torn the clothing of a female relative of one of the youths and assaulted her baby. As a result some members of the community sought the release of the youths and redress for the assault on the woman and child, but claimed that they were prevented from entering Manningham police station to lodge a formal complaint. During this time a further ten people were arrested and some police officers were kitted out in riot gear. More people gathered, forming a crowd of about 50 people outside the police station facing the officers wearing riot gear. The next day, following a meeting with local community representatives, the Assistant Chief Constable refused to release those who had been arrested and refused to inquire into the police officers’ behaviour. That evening, 300 people had gathered outside the police station in protest, and the number of police in riot gear had similarly increased. Those in the crowd claim that the police charged the crowd first with batons and dogs, and that some in the crowd responded by throwing stones. The police account suggests that the crowd began to riot, throwing stones, breaking windows and setting cars on fire (Bradford Commission, 1996: 32–8; Burlet and Reid, 1996: 148–9). One of those arrested outside the police station was a member of the local police liaison committee who was not able to move away as fast as other people when instructed to do so by police officers due to a medical condition. The centres of the violence on this first night were the area outside the police station and nearby in Oak Lane, where unpopular local businesses largely owned by whites were attacked (Bradford Commission, 1996: 42–4). Disturbances continued on the evening of 10 June, a smaller sub-section of which temporarily moved to the city centre. Attempts by local councillors and community leaders to facilitate communication between the police and the local community failed on the night of 9 June and during the day of 10 June. One councillor recalled a telephone conversation with a senior police officer on 9 June as follows: ‘I told him of the potential for riots, but he said he was too busy and put the phone down’ (Bradford Commission, 1996: 50). During the day there were widespread expectations of further trouble, and local shops and businesses boarded up their windows to prevent further damage. The media were present on the streets ready to report on further trouble. These provided obvious potential targets. After 7:00pm around 300 people had gathered outside Lawcroft House, the local police station, demanding a response from the police regarding the accusations and complaints following the original arrests. For some reason someone in the crowd threw a brick towards the police, and following this, sections of the crowd became more violent: ‘Petrol bombs and stones were thrown at the police, and passing motorists were also hit. At this time a white woman, accompanied by a child and a dog, walked down Oak Lane without apparent hindrance’ (Bradford Commission, 1996: 56). Attacks on shops and businesses on Oak Lane followed, and a sub-section of the crowd moved to the city centre, attacking shops and businesses there for a while. Overall it was estimated that between 350 and 700 people were involved and 300 police officers were deployed to control the situation. The Bradford Commission was highly critical of the police in a number of respects, but primarily felt that they had failed to convince local people and their representatives that their concerns were being dealt with. As they worked via community representatives, this ignored the fact that many Pakistani people born in the UK feel that they can talk directly with the


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police without intermediaries, and are often suspicious of the agendas of community leaders. Local residents felt that police drafted in from elsewhere were distant and hostile towards them. Furthermore, the police apparently preferred to defend Lawcroft House, ‘their fort’, as against other properties, and the crowd in the city centre in particular was seemingly unrestrained by police (Bradford Commission, 1996: 58– 62). These are themes that we will encounter again in our discussion of the 2001 riot in Bradford. The Bradford Commission’s recommendations about the protection of the city in particular may help us to understand some of the police–crowd interactions in the early stages of the 2001 riot, where the crowd was apparently confused by the police tactics of clearing the city centre. After 1995 the commission suggested that: ‘… the vulnerability of the city centre, and the unpredictability of violent gangs and looters, should be specifically considered by the police in the event of future threats of disorders …’ (Bradford Commission, 1996: 62). During the disturbances, 102 premises were damaged, of which 95 were whiteowned, and 66 motor vehicles were damaged, only four of which were owned by Asians. Furthermore, ten members of the public were attacked, all of whom were white, but only nine police officers were injured. As a result 41 people were arrested on charges of arson, theft, violent disorder, conspiracy to commit arson and possessing offensive weapons. Of these, 16 were brought to trial, and the only custodial sentences were 12 months for robbery and three sentences detaining individuals in a young offenders’ institution. Of those arrested, only four were white and these were from Barnsley! The rest were South Asian Muslim males aged from 15 to 37, with most in their late teens and early twenties. Although they did not speak to any of those involved in the violence, racist motivations were imputed to the targeting of businesses by the commission (Bradford Commission, 1996: 66–73). The riot in June 1995 in Manningham was seen as being perpetrated by young Pakistani men, and there was widespread community criticism of the dominant media reporting of the events. Even at this stage, some academics were writing of the segregation and ‘ghettoization’ of different ethnic communities in Bradford with Burlet and Reid (1996: 147) even claiming that there was an ‘informal system of apartheid’. The local Pakistani community was critical of the policing of their local area in a number of respects. Firstly, there had been the construction of a new police station in the area, Lawcroft House, that was ‘fortress-like’ in its design and called ‘kila’ or ‘fort’ by local people (Bradford Commission, 1996: 161; Burlet and Reid, 1996: 148). This was also a theme of some of our interviewees’ thoughts about policing in the area in 2001. Further issues that Burlet and Reid and the Bradford Commission identified were the failure to control prostitution, and the excessive use of stop and search tactics by the police. As in the later riots in 2001, there was the suggestion from some in the community that ‘trouble makers’ from outside Bradford were responsible for instigating the violence (Bradford Commission, 1996; Burlet and Reid, 1996: 149). Dissatisfaction with the police was an important feature of the context of the 1995 riot that was identified by the Bradford Commission and formed the basis of a quite wide-ranging critique of how they operate in Bradford. For example, over 70 per cent of local youngsters at the time reported feeling that the police operated in a racist manner, and the feeling amongst older people was that the police had become

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more racist since the 1960s. In the Toller Police Division where the disturbances took place, only 4 per cent of officers came from ethnic minorities in an area where over 30 per cent of the population are of South Asian origin. However, only 13 complaints were made against police in the division in the year before the riots, and none of these had a racial dimension (Bradford Commission, 1996: 171–3). In our view this may reflect the lack of trust in the police and the lack of faith in or knowledge about complaints procedures. The commission documented a wide-ranging series of ethnic inequalities in relation to a number of aspects of Bradford’s public services and political processes. For instance, at the time South Asian children made up almost half of the children in schools, but 97 per cent of teachers were white, and some teachers reported a state of conflict between the South Asian pupils and the almost totally white staff (Bradford Commission, 1996: 153). The disturbances in 1995 were noted as the first significant violent protest by sections of the Pakistani community in Bradford. However, various sections of the community had been involved in a variety of campaigns over the years, some of which had national and even international impact. During the 1970s, Bradford was a major centre of support for the NF and other racist movements that were vigorously opposed by the local South Asian community (Husbands, 1983: 70–77; Singh, 2002: 57). In the early 1980s a group of anti-fascist young South Asians were accused of making petrol bombs, but were acquitted by the court. Known as the ‘Bradford Twelve’, their trial attracted a good deal of national attention (Singh, 2002: 27). Around the same time, South Asian Muslim parents successfully campaigned for the provision of Halal meat in school meals (Bradford Commission, 1996: 85–6). These events were closely followed by the Honeyford affair, where Mr Honeyford, the headmaster of a Manningham middle school, published an article in a rightwing magazine critical of the supposed impact of large numbers of ethnic minority children on educational standards in schools. His view was that the social identity of ethnic minority groups was given priority over social integration into white society. Widely seen as racist and intolerant of non-white and non-Christian ethnic groups and religions, a local campaign against him was successful as he left his post (Bradford Commission, 1996: 86). However, of perhaps wider significance was the Rushdie affair (Samad, 1992). In January 1989, a copy of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, seen by Muslims as blasphemous in its portrayal of revered individuals, was burned in public at a demonstration against the publication in Bradford. Whilst the burning of books and other items such as flags and effigies is a standard protest tactic in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, in Western Europe it raises images of Nazi Germany and right-wing intolerance (Bradford Commission, 1996: 89). Overall, the history of these protests indicate a move away from alliances with traditional forms of white liberal political action to self-directed action by South Asian Muslims acting in their own self-defined interests. The final area that received considerable comment in the commission’s report that is also of contemporary relevance is local government and politics. The commission noted how the drive for equal opportunities in the city council had lost momentum since the 1980s in the face of white opposition. Whilst formal procedures were followed, some critical issues were being evaded rather than discussed and addressed. The local racial equality council was noted as being weak and irrelevant to many


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ordinary people in Manningham (Bradford Commission, 1996: 98–9). At the level of the local education authority, there was a lack of strategic leadership on race equality issues and the challenges posed by educating an ethnically mixed school population, with many teachers left to find their own way, rather than examples of good practice being disseminated (Bradford Commission, 1996: 152). Furthermore, central government control over local government finances was seen as a key constraint on the city council, preventing it from developing a strategic vision for the area. This, combined with the competitive bidding processes for redevelopment funds between, for example, areas like Manningham and predominantly white working class areas such as the outer council estates, created inter-community envy and conflict (Bradford Commission, 1996: 192–3). Finally, one South Asian councillor criticized the ‘colonial model’ used by the police and the city council to govern the inner city areas where they worked, through ‘community leaders’ who often lacked the support and respect of, especially, UK-born younger Pakistani residents. However, there was one important difference in local political responses to the 1995 riot in Bradford compared to that of 2001. In 1995 local politicians called for the charges against those initially arrested to be dropped (Burlet and Reid, 1996: 150), whereas in 2001 there was a strong mobilization of local councillors and Members of Parliament from ethnic minority communities and the Labour Party for strong sentencing and the use of greater force by the police if there were further disturbances, as we shall see in the next section. In addition, senior police officers blamed the riots on the ‘generation gap’ in the local Pakistani community (Burlet and Reid, 1996: 150), a theme that would re-emerge in the community cohesion discourse in response to the 2001 riots. Furthermore, as another precursor to the 2001 arrests of rioters, the police used video evidence to identify ‘rioters’ (Burlet and Reid, 1996: 150–51). Significantly, as we have seen, none of these were charged with the most serious public order offence of riot. We think these outcomes go some way to explaining what happened after the 2001 riot in terms of the response of the criminal justice system. Bradford 2001 In 2001 the Bradford disturbances followed those in Oldham and Burnley. As will become clear, there are a number of distinctive elements to the development of the violence in Bradford. However, prior to this on 15 April there had been disturbances in the Lidget Green area of the city that had involved up to 100 South Asian men. This had reputedly begun after some white football supporters had insulted some South Asian Hindu customers in a pub. Entirely separately but in the same pub, around 100 guests were present for a party to celebrate the engagement of a South Asian Hindu woman to a white man. They were caught up in the violence that followed. Cars and shops were attacked, and up to 130 police wearing riot gear were drafted in. Reputedly most of the damage was caused by a group of up to 35 white men, and a larger group of South Asian men gathered to respond to the white attack as police took time to appear on the scene. The white group began to attack South Asian-owned shops and vehicles from around 7:00pm, but the police only began to

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arrive in force from 8:00pm onwards. As the white men attacked Asian businesses a section of the South Asian crowd attacked another pub down the road where the original group of white men had sought refuge. The disorder continued for about six hours, and there were up to 19 assaults on the public (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 17 April 2001). It is difficult to see what direct connection the Lidget Green violence had with the riot in July, and certainly it was not a theme that was noted as significant by those who we interviewed. However, along with the events in Oldham it may have drawn the city to the attention of the BNP and others looking for local political opportunities in the north of England. According to Allen (2003), early in 2001 the BNP leafleted extensively in North Bradford with leaflets carrying the slogans: ‘Islam out of Britain’ and ‘I.S.L.A.M. – Intolerance, Slaughter, Looting, Arson and Molestation of women’.2 These leaflets claim that these actions are encouraged by the teaching of the Koran, and that the issue is not a matter of race, as Hindu and Sikh activists had published warnings against the dangers of Islam. In the May 2001 elections, the BNP’s candidate won 1,600 votes in Bradford North. The day before the riots a meeting in the Ravenscliffe area of Bradford for BNP activists and sympathizers was addressed by the BNP leader Nick Griffin. Around noon on Saturday 7 July 2001, several hundred people of a variety of ethnic backgrounds gathered in the centre of Bradford to attend a demonstration organized by the Anti-Nazi League and their allies against a threatened march in the city by the National Front. The police had successfully requested the Home Office to ban the march and a counter-march planned by the Anti-Nazi League, as explained to us by a member of the police liaison committee: We decided on 4 July that we will go to the Home Secretary and we would ask him to ban all the marches in Bradford for 30 days or 90 days. That meant marches from everybody, you know BNP, or Anti-Nazi League, or anybody. I don’t know why they allowed AntiNazi League to go ahead with that rally, there was no need for that. And unfortunately … some Members of Parliament were there to address the rally as well. And there were certain extreme elements there, white and Asians who were just encouraging youths, go out and do this, otherwise BNP are going to do this and that. Unfortunately. So I think that they went wrong there (Javed Seth, 47, magistrate and member of police liaison committee).

In addition this ban had been communicated widely to the local community by the police and local politicians (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 4 July 2001), but there was sufficient scepticism for there to be a reported 600 present (Daily Express, 9 July 2001). This scepticism had been fuelled by the last-minute cancellation of the ‘World in a City’ music festival scheduled to take place in Centenary Square in the centre of Bradford. After taking advice from the police, Bradford City Council cancelled the event a matter of days before it was due to happen for the fear of a few members of the NF visiting Bradford and provoking violence that could have been a wider threat to public safety. This decision was criticized by some local politicians as giving in to the NF, and for continuing to fuel the rumours that they were coming to Bradford 2

A copy of this leaflet is also in the possession of the authors.


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despite the ban on their march. Indeed a spokesman from the NF was quoted in the local press as follows: ‘We will be still coming to Bradford. There are people coming up from London, Birmingham, Nottingham and elsewhere’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 6 July 2001). In short the cancellation was criticized as it would have precisely the opposite effect of what was intended. This much was at least implied in the following editorial comment in one of the local newspapers that: ‘The result of their actions is that central Bradford will be a place of fear this weekend. And the longer-term consequences could be far worse’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 6 July 2001). The NF were expected to appear in the city centre at 3:00pm, and during the run up to this time the police sealed off most of the streets around Centenary Square where the demonstrators had gathered. By 2:40pm, the crowd was surrounded by lines of police officers wearing full riot gear. As 3:00pm passed without anything happening, a journalist contacted the National Front’s organizer by mobile phone and was informed that they were 15 minutes away with about 30 supporters (Yorkshire Post, 9 July 2001). At this point in the afternoon, neo-Nazi groups from the NF and Combat 18 to more informal groups of white Bradford FC supporters moved from pub to pub ‘seig heiling’ and being abusive. Subsequently at around 4.30pm a young Asian-Muslim man was attacked and had his head stamped upon; however, it is claimed that the police escorted the perpetrators to another pub (Allen, 2003: 19–20). These events were reported by eye-witnesses to local press reporters as follows: Robina Siddique, organiser of the rally in Centenary Square, said a Nazi sympathiser had managed to gain entry to the square and mill about with the crowd. ‘Two women were spat at and insulted by this person.’ She said ‘This man produced a Stanley knife, he was pointed out to police and later arrested. But this helped cause tension to grow because we didn’t feel we were being effectively policed. We got rumours of National Front people being in a bar, but why didn’t police know this through surveillance? That was a failure. They failed to protect us at our rally, but they were over-zealous in other ways.’ Members of Bradford Trades Council are understood to have made a series of telephone calls to police naming a person known to them and officers as a self-proclaimed Nazi. But although he was seen being spoken to by police, he was not arrested until later. Altaf Arif … works with an anti-racist group in the city … He was in Centenary Square helping to keep youths calm during the anti-Nazi rally. But anger at a race attack in Ivegate sparked a response by young Asian people, he said. ‘The police have admitted they made errors and I agree,’ he said. ‘They failed to arrest a known Nazi who was roaming the streets. They searched him but didn’t arrest him. He was later seen at Addison’s stamping on an Asian guy’s head. Then the police used force on Asian kids. One lad running down the street had his face smashed in for no apparent reason – it was unacceptable. Police had also made a mistake putting pressure on the Council to axe the festival. If the World in a City event was still on, it would have been a distraction for people – instead all they had was the police and tension grew.’ He said the anti-fascist rally had passed off peacefully for four and a half hours, but anger at the racist attack – and the failure of police to pick up on right wing extremists pointed out to them – caused it ‘to kick off’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

By 3:00pm the Anti-Nazi League rally was by all accounts winding down, although some of those attending were still present in Centenary Square and the police were

The Riots of 2001


requesting them to disperse, having been herded into a corner of the square (Daily Express, 9 July 2001). Some of the politicians who had attended at least were leaving (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001), and the event had reportedly ended quietly at 2:30pm (Daily Express, 9 July 2001). At this point it may be inferred that some of the crowd were dispersing as well. Around 2:45pm the police turned back five NF supporters who had arrived at Bradford Interchange railway station, and it was reported that they had complied with the police and left Bradford (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001; Daily Express, 9 July 2001). However, at around 4:00pm news of the racist attack on an Asian man in Ivegate, outside Addison’s Bar, reached some in the crowd in Centenary Square a matter of yards away. The response of some in the crowd and the police was described by a journalist on the scene in the following way: By 4pm the rally was definitely winding down and police were withdrawing. It was a big shock when – from nowhere – the crowd split and youths sprinted across Bridge Street and towards narrow, pedestrianised Ivegate. They’d heard reports of a race attack outside a bar. Police, caught unawares, responded by charging through the centre on police horses, scattering protestors and shoppers alike. A terrified pensioner took shelter in a phone box, passers-by were screaming, and one Asian youth stumbled and was trampled by one of the horses (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

From this point on press reports suggest that conflict then developed between South Asian men in the city centre and the police. The police were busy arresting South Asian men, whilst some of the crowd were reported to be smashing windows, for example, Halifax Property Services on Kirkgate and the Bedshop on Sunbridge Road, looting shops and throwing missiles at the police. Around 5:00pm two white men were stabbed by a group of South Asian men around Thornton Road (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001; Daily Express, 9 July 2001; Yorkshire Post, 9 July 2001). The only way out of the city centre at this stage was through Westgate and up White Abbey Road, as the police had blocked other exits from the city centre. In addition they were pushing the crowd in that direction. As more police arrived the violence escalated from throwing stones and others missiles at police on Westgate around 5:45pm to a group of around 60–70 South Asian men throwing petrol bombs at the police from 6:20pm onwards on White Abbey Road. By this time the city centre had been cleared and was quiet (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001; Daily Express, 9 July 2001). This is the symbolic boundary between the city centre and the South Asian neighbourhood broadly known as Manningham. From this point onwards burning barricades had been erected by some of those in the crowd. The police had dog handlers, helicopter surveillance of the crowd, and about a dozen mounted police on the scene. As recounted in more detail below, several attempts by community leaders to negotiate between the police and the crowd failed. The police repeatedly charged the crowd with officers on horseback, and gradually over several hours the crowd retreated up White Abbey Road and Whetley Hill (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001; Daily Express, 9 July 2001; Yorkshire Post, 9 July 2001). The principal damage to property during this time was the burning out of Lister’s BMW garage on Oak Lane, the Labour Club on Whetley Hill, from which 30 people


Riotous Citizens

narrowly escaped, the Upper Globe pub on Whetley Hill and Arthur’s Bar on Heaton Road. In addition, the Lower Globe pub on Heaton Road suffered fire damage, as did a butcher’s shop on Oak Lane, whilst in the city centre various shops had broken windows. The police had to draw in a further 425 officers from nine other police forces to reinforce the 500 already present (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001; Yorkshire Post, 9 July 2001). Of these, 326 were injured. The police eventually recorded 452 crimes including criminal damage, arson, assaults on police officers, robbery and serious assault. The overall property damage was estimated at £7.5 million. Towards the end of July 2001, the police began to release photographs of those wanted in relation to the riots. Through posters displayed in police stations, mosques and schools as well as the police website and through the local press, 212 photographs were released. Three years later, 305 people, ranging in age from 13 to 47, had been arrested in connection with offences committed during the disorders, and 259 were charged with offences, of which 183 were charged with the most serious public order offence of riot. At least 188 received custodial sentences of some kind in relation to offences committed in connection with the disturbances. The longest sentences were 12 years for arson, and eight and a half years for throwing petrol bombs. Of those arrested, 88 per cent were South Asian, 10 per cent were white and 2 per cent were African-Caribbean. Furthermore, 86 per cent came from Bradford, 7 per cent from nearby Keighley, 5 per cent from elsewhere in West Yorkshire, leaving only 3 per cent from outside the county (West Yorkshire Police, 2004). Criticism of the policing of the riot, especially of the failure to protect ‘Asian areas’ as opposed to the city centre, was also reported by the local press, as a former mayor of Bradford was quoted as saying: ‘Some people felt the police didn’t really try hard to protect their areas, they were more interested in the city centre and ignored damage in the Asian areas’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001). Furthermore, some onlookers were also reportedly critical of some of the police tactics, as in the following incident reported in the press shortly afterwards: Crowds watching from the Melborn Hotel suddenly became agitated when about six riot police arrested an Asian man who did not appear to be resisting. Shouting at their captive they pinned him against a wall for a couple of minutes and had to fend off people angry at their actions. ‘There’s no need for it,’ said one man. ‘He’s not giving them any trouble. We may not know what he’s done but why do they have to treat him so badly?’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

In the press conferences immediately afterwards, senior police officers admitted that they had lost control of the situation. Furthermore, despite stopping a small group of NF supporters at the railway station and ordering them to leave the city, they also admitted that ‘between 12 and 30’ had successfully travelled to Bradford in spite of the ban on their march: Asked if the police lost control, ACC Wilkinson said: ‘There were times when we didn’t feel completely on top of the situation and were extremely stretched. Officers had been out there for 12 hours. Many, in full riot gear in the heat of the afternoon, were exhausted by the time the main confrontation began.’ He said the police strategy had been to ‘contain and disperse’ the rioters – it had clearly failed, because of the damage caused. ACC

The Riots of 2001


Wilkinson estimated between 12 and 20 right-wing extremists were in town. ‘They made their presence felt and dispersed early,’ he said. ‘They were very important – they were a catalyst.’ Officers revealed five known National Front members were met, mid-afternoon on Saturday, by police at Bradford Interchange and turned away from the city (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

Whilst the media made much of the failure of ‘community leaders’ to persuade those involved to end the violence, the actual picture is more complex than this. One such ‘community leader’ was reported as joining with a South Asian councillor from the Conservative Party to negotiate between the police and the rioters. At this point the rioters agreed to cease the violence if two people who had been arrested were released by the police. However, the police refused to do so: ‘We got the crowd to say they’d back off if they released the two guys they’d arrested,’ the 41-year-old said. ‘We asked the police to release them but when they refused we left it alone. We tried our best but the police said no’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

At another stage another group of ‘community leaders’ attempted to mediate between the police and the rioters, but this also failed due to the lack of police co-operation with those attempting to mediate: Restaurant owner Omar Khan was amongst those who tried to mediate with rioters at about 9.30pm but was almost immediately pushed back by riot police as he and others tried to talk to an arrested youth. An annoyed Mr Khan said: ‘They called us in to make peace and all of a sudden we get forced back …’ (Yorkshire Post, 9 July 2001).

This is also supported by some of our interview data, where those who were present during the violence told us of what they saw happen to the attempts to stop it. In one case, Alisah Khaleeq told us that the police ignored the attempts to calm those who were involved in the violence: … they did have a lot of these young lads saying to them, lads who were not involved in the riots saying just back off and then we can get rid of these lads for you, we can make them go home. But they wouldn’t, they would not back off (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, Community Development Officer).

During the riot some community leaders approached from the side of the police. In this case eye-witnesses thought their approach was not one of attempting to negotiate between the crowd and the police, but to try and control the crowd on behalf of the police. Thus from the perspective of some of those who saw this, they completely failed to defuse the situation: Well, they sort of like floated in about 7pm with their shirts and their ties and their milk crates so they could be seen by everyone (laughing). And they were speaking on behalf of the police force: ‘If you stop, nothing more will happen’, ‘If you do this they won’t do that’. The community felt aggrieved because they wasn’t going over to the police and saying ‘If you stop then they promise not to’, ‘If you stop then they won’t do this’. They came from the police officers and said ‘If you stop the police won’t take any further


Riotous Citizens action’. It was like we represent you but we are listening to them. So they are telling you what to do (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser).

The main phase of violence ended at around 1:00am when some South Asian community members persuaded those involved in the violence to give up. However, those involved in this successful initiative were not the elected local politicians or publicly recognized ‘community leaders’. They remain anonymous and are referred to only briefly in one media report as ‘Asian elders’: By 1am Asian elders began speaking with the group who eventually agreed to disperse. As they walked casually past the line of officers, towards Lilycroft Road, the youths smiled and called out mockingly: ‘Time to go home now.’ One turned and indicated a ‘time-out’ sign as if to indicate a pause in the proceedings (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

However, this was not the end of the evening’s violence as this was soon followed by the attack on Lister’s BMW garage on Oak Lane. Over the duration of the riot the targets of those involved shifted. Initially in the city centre it was those that they thought were attacking other South Asians, then the police. Later on the targets shifted to what they believed were white-owned businesses, although some buildings that were attacked were in fact owned by local Pakistani business people. In other cases cars were used to build barricades, or as weapons being rolled or driven down Wetley Hill at police lines. Whilst most of those interviewed by the local press suggested that the targets were essentially random, a few suggested a certain rationale based upon the poor reputation of the businesses for employing local people: Manawar JanKhan, spokesman for the Manningham Residents’ Association … said ‘We don’t want to say “I told you so”, but we have said time and time again that you need to involve Manningham residents. There aren’t enough jobs. There are graduates who can’t find work in Bradford, they have to move away, and they are taking out their anger on local businesses who won’t employ them. There’s a lot of anger against white employers. White businesses have been targeted like the pubs and Lister’s garage’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

The immediate response of politicians and senior police officers was to criminalize the rioters (Allen, 2003). Although several of the newspaper headlines and comment used the language of ‘race riots’ to describe the events in Bradford (for example, ‘Race Riots: Where Next’, Daily Express, 9 July 2001), senior police officers and politicians were quick to dismiss that label. They were equally quick to dismiss any role for factors such as economic and social conditions in the inner city. The predominant explanation as reported in the media that came from the police and politicians was simply to label the events as purely criminal. However, there was a degree of media selectivity as to what comments were reported. According to Hansard (10 July 2001: column 666) David Blunkett agreed with the MP for Bradford North that the NF and the BNP had played the central role in provoking the riots through the threatened NF march. However, the media reporting of these exchanges was to focus almost entirely on the criminalization of South Asian men, as the following illustrates:

The Riots of 2001


… some of the hard core who were stimulating, organising and communicating the disorder on Saturday night were not young people who will join our review groups. That is because they are drug pushers and traffickers, and we need to deal with them head on (David Blunkett, Hansard, 10 July 2001: column 668).

The more direct quotes in the press illustrate a broad consensus amongst police officers, ministers, local Labour Party MPs, as well as Conservative politicians as to the, in their view, essentially criminal motivation of those involved. Whilst such views are typical of those reported in the news media from those in authority in response to such events (Murdoch, 1984), the breadth of consensus is quite striking, especially in comparison to the response to the Bradford events in 1995. There was a marked reluctance in the local media representations of the views of those in authority to see the disturbances as ‘race riots’ or as related to social deprivation: ACC Wilkinson said it was wrong to categorise the rioting as ‘race riots’, saying: ‘Criminality is more of a motive than race’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001). … what took place in the Manningham district was sheer mindless violence and therefore people acting in a totally anti-social and thuggish fashion, rather than some inherent cause through disadvantage that we need to address (David Blunkett, then Home Secretary, speaking on Sky News, as quoted in Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 8 July 2001). Marsha Singh, the Labour MP for Bradford West, echoing the comments of David Blunkett, saw the riots purely in criminal rather than political terms: ‘We have to put events into some sort of perspective. It was nothing to do with deprivation, this was sheer criminality’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

On the contrary, several local politicians emphasized the need to ‘root out’ the criminals. These statements are a straightforward expression of the ‘law and order’ discourse that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s (Keith, 1993). Given that these are Labour Party MPs, this just illustrates how this discourse of the Conservative right has now become quite simply hegemonic: Terry Rooney, MP for Bradford North: ‘We’ve got to root them out, get them banged up and show people that justice will apply to anybody that engages in this mindless thuggery’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 10 July 2001). Chris Leslie, MP for Shipley, said: ‘In the short term we need to root out the criminals involved and make sure that swift justice is delivered’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

In the first of a series of statements by David Blunkett that effectively brought to an end any serious consideration of the role of policing and racism in relation to the riots, he quite simply ruled this out. Whilst it could be argued that the riots of the 1980s placed these issues on the public agenda, Blunkett’s response in 2001 effectively removed them:


Riotous Citizens Mr Blunkett said it was ‘ridiculous’ to blame police attitudes to the Asian community for the disturbances. ‘I don’t think that last night’s riots and violence and destruction of a community that was putting itself together has anything to do with institutional racism whatsoever’ (David Blunkett, then Home Secretary, speaking on Sky News, as quoted in Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 8 July 2001).

Linked to this call for treating the riots in purely criminal terms and ignoring the role of policing, racism and the political context, was the desire for a show of greater force. This again reflects precisely the same themes and concerns of the Conservative right of the 1980s. However, this time it was ethnic minority Labour MPs who were leading the charge in the call for the use of water cannons by the police: Marsha Singh, the Labour MP for Bradford West, apparently expressing the views of several Labour MPs for Bradford, requested the Home Secretary David Blunkett to provide the police with water cannons: ‘We may look to European models of crime controls, seven hours in White Abbey Road could have been cleared in half an hour with a water cannon’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001).

Others, however, highlighted issues that were to become central themes of the predominant community cohesion discourse in the subsequent reports on the disturbances in Oldham and Burnley. These issues were on the one hand the perceived spatial and social segregation of different ethnic communities, and on the other the questions of speaking English and the undesirable, in their eyes, transnational marriages of some in the South Asian community. These express the underlying culturally racist notion that the causes of the riots were ultimately to be found in the culture of South Asian Muslim communities themselves: The Conservative leader of Bradford City Council was quoted in the local press as highlighting the segregation and lack of understanding between the different ethnic groups in Bradford (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001). Ann Cryer, the Labour MP for Keighley, raised the issue of English language and the importation of poverty through transnational marriages (Hansard, 10 July 2001: column 671; Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 12 July 2001).

Follow on disturbances occurred on 8 and 9 July, which were more of the character of what Tilly (2003) would describe as ‘scattered attacks’. On the evening of 8 July, a pub on Manningham Lane was firebombed, whilst in the largely white district of Greengates, two businesses owned by South Asians, a restaurant and a petrol station, were attacked by a group of up to 30 white men bearing baseball bats and axes (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001). Further disturbances also occurred on the night of 9 July in the largely white public housing areas of Ravenscliffe and Holmewood. These began when a pizza restaurant owned by South Asians was attacked by a gang of white youths. Elsewhere in the Holmewood area, a group of 20 to 30 white men gathered outside the Tempest pub, and threw missiles at the police who arrived on the scene. At around the same time around 100 white people confronted about 50 police in the Ravenscliffe area, throwing missiles at

The Riots of 2001


them. These were widely interpreted in the local media as reaction to the violence in the city centre and Manningham (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 10 July 2001). Conclusions This chapter has set the scene for those that follow. We have shown that the three localities where the most significant riots took place in the north of England in the spring and summer of 2001 share a number of economic and social characteristics. We then went on to outline how, in much public and academic debate, South Asian Muslim men of Bangladeshi and Pakistani background have been increasingly criminalized since the 1980s. Furthermore, in our overview of the riots themselves in each town we have identified a number of common characteristics, but also some significant differences. Perhaps the most important features of the events prior to the riots were the role of the mobilization of the far right and the South Asian communities’ perceptions of failure of the police to deal with this. In each case the details differ, but these two common threads run throughout. Furthermore, in each instance there were fights between white men and South Asian men at the beginning of the disturbances. However, in Oldham and Burnley these became more prolonged disturbances involving both ethnic groups. In Bradford, the crowd became remarkably ethnically homogenous, and solely engaged the police. We have also given some attention to the comments of the police and local and national politicians as reported in the local media. These show how the right-wing law and order discourse had become the hegemonic response to the riots of 2001. However, added to this were culturally racist concerns about self-segregation, speaking English and retaining links through families with Pakistan. This left the communities concerned politically isolated in a way in which the black communities connected with the 1980s disturbances were not to the same degree.

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Chapter 3

Accounts of How the Bradford Riot Began We saw in the previous chapter how the riot in Bradford had been preceded by violence in Oldham and Burnley. People’s memories of what happened that day in Bradford are varied and conflicting. This is not only due to issues of memory, but also reflects where they were present at the time and what they have subsequently heard from others and the media. Whilst these problems with analysing accounts of riots have been taken seriously by some (Joshua and Wallace, 1983), others have sought to iron out the wrinkles through methodological triangulation (for example, Reicher, 1984). However, triangulation means that the contradictions between different accounts are ignored in preference for those that agree the most with each other and with other sources. In this chapter we examine these accounts of what happened in the full range, paying close attention not just to the dominant consensual narratives, but also those that differ. Consequently, our aim is not to provide a definitive objective account of events, nor even to present what is sometimes referred to as a natural history of the riot (Oberschall, 1993: 239), but to examine the diversity of people’s views about how the Bradford riot developed. In the first section we examine what our interviewees recalled about the rumours and expectations prior to the riots. Central to this were fears about the neo-fascist demonstration that had been planned for Bradford and apparently banned. We then go on to examine what our interviewees believed had been the immediate causes of the riots, what are often referred to in the literature as ‘flashpoints’ (Waddington, 1992; 2007), precipitating events (Smelser, 1962) or a sudden shift from individual identity to the extremist, empowered social identity of the crowd (Drury and Reicher, 2000; 2005; Reicher, 1996). One of the key aspects of what happened during the late afternoon was the clearing of the city centre by the police and what people described as the driving of the crowd towards the Manningham district. We devote some time to this issue, as many of those who we interviewed had strong views about this tactic. Furthermore, this was possibly related to one of the recommendations of the Bradford Commission Report into the 1995 riots in Bradford, which said that the police should consider defending the city centre more effectively in the case of future disturbances (Bradford Commission, 1996). Finally we consider the symbolic meaning of the location of the riot as it was expressed in our interview material.


Riotous Citizens

Rumours and Expectations Much is often made of the role of rumour and prior expectations in preparing groups for a riot, creating a sense of the inevitability of collective violence (Smelser, 1962). However, our interviews with both those who witnessed events on the day as well as those who were not present suggest a more complex picture. Some talked of the rumours and expectation that Bradford would follow in the wake of events in Oldham and experience similar violence. A further major theme of the rumours and expectations of the weeks prior to the riot that people could recall were that the National Front (NF) were coming to Bradford. Most of those whom we interviewed stressed that they had been aware that some kind of meeting, march or demonstration was going to be held in the city centre that day. However, others recall knowing nothing about this and stressed the normality of an afternoon’s shopping in Bradford city centre. This reflects the situation of uncertainty that was considered in the previous chapter, where we saw that all marches had been banned, and a large music event had been cancelled in case the ban was ignored by the NF or others. The local media continued to report that the NF was saying that it still intended to march in Bradford and an Anti-Nazi League demonstration went ahead in the city centre just in case. As the following young woman who was part of our focus group at the Asian Girls and Women’s Centre told us: My mum and auntie were in town as usual and they were just going around the shops and they thought it was really quiet and wondered why all the shops were closing early. Then they saw lots of police vans and police everywhere and then they knew something was going on, but until then they didn’t know at all (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19).

Amongst those who knew that there was going to be a demonstration and that it was rumoured that the NF were going to attempt to meet and march in Bradford, many did not expect the event to develop into serious violence. Certainly they expected tension and perhaps some minor scuffles, but the overall impression that we gained from our interviewees was that the violence was by no means premeditated or planned by those involved. I knew there was going to be a march or something by the National Front but yeah, so what? I knew there was going to be a protest or something but we didn’t expect it to turn into a riot or anything. We knew there was going to be a large police presence so there is no chance of that happening in the town centre (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser). We certainly did not think it was going to kick off this badly. I think it was quite unexpected to be honest with you. They were expecting some trouble I think because the Anti-Nazi League were having their demonstration at the same time as the NF were supposed to be doing their march (Zara Hussain, 29, student). No we never thought it would go like this. We just thought it was going to be a march and we would just sit on the side or walk at the side and mess around. We didn’t know they had

Accounts of How the Bradford Riot Began


taken petrol bombs, and it would result in all the attacks and breaking all the windows of the shops. No one knew that (Lukman Afzal, 17, on government training scheme).

Central to the rumours and expectations was the belief that the NF were coming to Bradford. Based on the long history of the hostility of the far right towards Britain’s ethnic minorities, it was to be expected that this should generate fear amongst the Pakistani community in Bradford. However, whether or not the NF, the British National Party (BNP) or some other grouping of neo-fascists actually came to Bradford and exactly what they did was a matter of dispute between interviewees. Many of those who we interviewed thought that the NF threatened to come to Bradford, but their march was banned and those who did attempt to get into the city were stopped by the police and did not actually appear in the city centre. Javed Seth, a local magistrate and member of the police liaison committee, gives the ‘official version’ of the inaccuracy of the rumours prior to the riot and how those members of the BNP who did appear were stopped by the police. This also illustrates the rather general way in which many people talked about the BNP and the NF interchangeably: … it was all rumours and unfortunately the Anti-Nazi League and all those youngsters went to the city centre and they played into the hands of the BNP. The only members of the BNP that arrived into Bradford were only four of them who came by train and they were sent back straight from the Interchange platform, straight back. They were not even allowed to leave the platform (Javed Seth, 47, magistrate and member of police liaison committee).

In contrast to this rather dismissive view of the community’s fears about the NF, for many of our interviewees, especially the young women, the NF had deliberately provoked the violence simply by threatening to come to Bradford. Furthermore, this was a strategy that they saw in retrospect had been successful by the NF and that the BNP had reaped the electoral rewards: … at the end of the day, when the NF were supposed to come to Bradford and then they didn’t come, I think it was just all set up at the end of the day. They just wanted the Asians to react and they got it. That is what I actually believe in. They were just waiting for it to happen and when it did they had all the footage clearly, all the photos and everything. I think it was just a big set up (Shabnam Ishaq, 21, clerical worker). … I think it was quite a clever strategy played by the National Front Party because mainly I think that the people around here, the Asians, it was just a little flare like that, it just flared things out of control. I knew that they had the power to start something big and I think that is what they wanted to happen. They wanted to start a big issue off, they wanted that to be noticed that the National Front had that power (Serena Khan, 19, student).

Another theme of the rumours about the NF that people recalled concerned the confusion from the authorities. Although the police and local politicians might have felt that they had given clear messages that the NF or the BNP or whoever would not be allowed to march, that is not how it is remembered by many of those whom we interviewed. They recall confusion and a lack of clarity about what would happen. The ineffectiveness of the police attempts to communicate with the local community


Riotous Citizens

was highlighted by the Bradford Commission Report into the 1995 disorders in the city as a key problem (Bradford Commission, 1996). Furthermore, those whom we interviewed felt that the riots could have been prevented if there had been clearer information about how the police and the authorities were committed to preventing the march by the NF: I mean there were mixed messages going out, you know nobody were sure if the march were going ahead or whether it wasn’t. It was right up until that actual day. People were unsure. All we got told was that coach loads of NFs were coming through into Bradford escorted by the police to walk round and do their march. And they were going to come up through town, come up past White Abbey Road, go down Manningham Lane. I don’t know what route they had planned out but there was going to definitely be a march. I mean I got to hear about this march the week previous. And all through that week leading up to the disturbance it was like, ‘There’s a march’, ‘There’s a march’, ‘There’s a march’ … But even up to that day we weren’t even sure if it were cancelled. There were talks of it may be cancelled, it may not be cancelled and I think it was cancelled but the police should have announced that it was cancelled. You know it isn’t going to happen, no way. People were unsure, that is why the Anti-Nazi League were down there discussing that, because they were unsure as well whether it was going ahead. So I think the message from the police could have been a little bit clearer on that day ... (Zahida Ali, 31, support worker). … you see there was this rumour going around town that the National Front were going to do a march in town and there would have been actually no way that they would have been given a licence to march, of any town they would not have got it in Bradford, no way. But unfortunately the media and the police did not do a damn thing to sort of put those rumours out. Those rumours were flying about for two weeks previous to the riots. Looking at it cynically it was almost like the media and the police wanted these riots to happen because they did not do a damn thing to avert them. Two weeks leading up to the riots they could have done a publicity blitz through their community liaison officers, they could have done everything necessary to stop these riots from happening. They know what is going on within the communities and they did not do a thing (Abid Aslam, 33, health advisor).

However, despite the efforts of the police and others to deal with the rumours, information about the planned NF march and the counter-demonstration by the AntiNazi League came from elsewhere. These rumours circulating among young people on the streets are by their very nature difficult for the police and local politicians to counter: I heard it from like, street kids, you know friends who said to one another they would say do you want to go for a game of football or summat and some of them would say there is a march on so and so date, NF are coming down. So it wasn’t in the paper or owt but I mean every little kid had it on his mouth that NF were coming down. So the word just spread … ‘NF is coming down so are you going to go down? Are you going down?’ (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

A further theme of their memories of the rumours and speculation prior to the riot was fear. This fear was expressed not so much as a threat to ethnic minorities or Pakistanis in particular but rather to the idea of Bradford as a peaceful multicultural

Accounts of How the Bradford Riot Began


city. In this sense, the rumoured march was experienced not as a direct threat to ethnic or religious identity, as much as a threat to local identity. This is revealed in the way in which people spoke of ‘our town’, ‘our home’ and ‘we Bradfordians’ in opposition to the NF, the BNP from outside. This was framed in terms of an imaginary (Alexander, 1996; Anderson, 2006) Bradford identity as a place of multicultural harmony – somewhere that did not have the problems of Oldham or Burnley. This was seen as a situation that the BNP or the NF were seeking to disrupt: Everyone had been told that the BNP were going to come and march through Bradford, so that is why everyone was there for a peaceful demonstration. We aren’t going to have any … Nazis march through our town and give us abuse. We were going to have a peaceful demonstration as well, we didn’t want them to come into our town and have a demonstration (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed). I think it was the fear as well because they were saying the BNP were coming into Bradford and they were going to do this and they were going to do that. The Bradford people did not want this to happen in Bradford because we Bradfordians see our community as a multicultural society and everybody lives in harmony and the children thought why are these people coming in from outside to cause this friction in Bradford? (Kauser Habib, 47, domestic violence advisor, and member of police liaison committee).

This theme of the threat of the NF or the BNP to local sensibilities raises the issue of the distinctiveness of the riot in Bradford, and how the rumours and expectations were in part fuelled by recent events in Oldham and Burnley. For some this meant that violence in Bradford was felt to be in some way inevitable after the events in the Lancashire towns, and that young men in the Pakistani community were expecting violence at some point. Central to these views were the notions that they would have to defend their homes and families after what they had heard and seen both in the media and from personal contacts about the attacks on South Asian people and property by neo-fascists in Oldham and Burnley: I think the weeks before there had been Burnley and Oldham and you knew it was only going to be a matter of time before it was going to happen in Bradford … White people were probably aggravated about what was going on in the media with some white man who had been beaten up or whatever and what initiated the whole thing in the first place. And I think there was just too much going on with Oldham, all the others and we knew it was just going to be a matter of time before it hit us. And I know here, youth workers and everyone was saying ‘No, no we have got the situation under control’ but when you were talking to young lads you knew that they wanted to fight, they are ready for it (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer). Because the stories we heard about what happened in Oldham, where the NF slipped into suburban areas and went into peoples’ homes. Beat people up, Asian women, family and we have family of our own so we were thinking oh what if they get through town, come into our areas and come into our homes, how are we going to protect ourselves? Because it’s not just us we were thinking about, it’s like family as well, we have mothers, daughters, sisters, you know, and we want to protect them, so it was like we don’t really want to cause a riot but we want to protect ourselves at the same time. So I think peoples were thinking I am not going to let them come into my area, into my homes, so they all


Riotous Citizens decided to go into town and stop it. Keep them in town (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

The rumours and expectations before the riots were thus by no means uniform, but a number of important features stand out in people’s accounts which we might surmise had pertinent effects on subsequent events. The first and most important of these themes, that the NF or the BNP, or some other unspecified neo-fascist group, was coming to Bradford, was central. The second was the perceived failure of the police and other authorities to effectively counter these rumours that created a sense of uncertainty. Finally, they also concerned the reports of South Asian families and homes being attacked during the disturbances in Burnley and Oldham. Flashpoints? The idea of a flashpoint that acts as an immediate trigger for collective violence is one that has become quite influential through Waddington’s analyses (Waddington, Jones and Crotcher, 1989; Waddington, 1992; 2007). Related to this idea is Smelser’s (1962) concept of the precipitating event, Turner and Killian’s (1987) analysis of keynoting, and the accounts of sudden shifts from individual to extremist crowd identity found in the work of some social psychologists (Drury and Reicher, 2000; 2005; Reicher, 1996). In this section we examine these inter-related ideas in relation to what our interviewees told us about what they thought had caused the riots. What is immediately clear is that there is no agreed single flashpoint, precipitating event or shift in identity amongst the crowd. Indeed Waddington (2007: 109) claims that the accounts of what happened are so sketchy that it is not possible to produce an analysis of what really happened. However, this may reflect an analytical deficiency in the model and its underlying epistemology rather than a problem with the evidence. The vast majority of our interviewees did not actually witness these potential flashpoints, and made it clear that they had heard from others what had happened. From our interviews there appear to be at least four types of event recalled: physical attacks on one or more young South Asian men by anything between one and twelve white men that were to varying degrees apparently ignored by the police; various forms of racist abuse and performance of Nazi salutes; spitting at and throwing beer over two South Asian women; and the belief that the BNP and/or the NF were being escorted through Bradford or in some other way being protected by the police. Sometimes these are combined in an individual’s account of what they recall happened on the day or what they had been told had happened: The Pakistani youth got jumped outside a pub which started it off. And from what I have heard the police officers that were at the scene were a bit hesitant with dealing with it, so that sparked it off … I think it was two youths who got beaten up inside a pub. They got dragged inside a pub and beaten up (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser). … in Bradford Centenary Square everything stayed calm until they heard of an Asian lad being attacked by these white NF people as they came out of a pub down Ivegate. So once

Accounts of How the Bradford Riot Began


news of that spread the Asian lads just ran up there … (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer). One of them, I do not know him but my son does. But he was really beaten up. The allegation is also that while he was being beaten up a number of police officers were stood nearby and they did nothing. A number of other young Asian people intervened when they saw that it was getting out of hand. Obviously this information spread fairly quickly and youngsters were going home and when they found out they obviously went out again. The police in the meantime, and this again is what has been said, tried to escort the BNP supporters through the city square to the station and this was seen by some young people as if the police were protecting the BNP supporters. And so a tussle broke out between the police and the young people that escalated (Mushir Choudhary, 46, community development worker).

Others, however, highlighted the role of people using racist abuse and giving Nazi salutes, which the police ignored and which then escalated into violent attacks on individuals. In some of these accounts the actions of the police are emphasized, but are absent from those of other interviewees: When I got there it was very intense because there had already been a disturbance with some of the right wing people … they were aggressive and giving the Nazi salutes … they were shouting ‘You Pakis get back to your own country’ … They [the young Pakistani men] were throwing stones at them and shouting abuse back. Obviously it is a natural reaction isn’t it? Yeah the police were there and they were leaving them and smacking the Asian lads. Then they just took them away, escorted them, grabbed them, smacked them, you name it (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed). What I heard was a white person came out of a pub and was screaming racial abuse, obviously he was drunk and was saying all these racist comments. So then the Asian lads felt threatened and thought how come he has the right to say all these things and so I know for a fact that the police were there when that happened so why didn’t they just stop it? Because they didn’t. They didn’t see that as a problem … because when they didn’t stop it there when they had the chance then they started attacking again and they stabbed someone and then it carried on … (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19).

Finally, there were those who said that they had witnessed two South Asian women being spat at and having a drink thrown over them by some white youths, and that this was ignored by the police who were present at the scene. Further points of conflict also involving the police and young South Asian men were highlighted by some that we interviewed: Whilst we were in town … and there was a couple of Asian women which were walking through the town and two NFs went and spat at them and threw a drink over them. Right, the police weren’t far off, the police were watching but they didn’t do nothing. Nothing at all. And later on there was an Asian guy and he started swearing and sticking fingers up and the policeman came up to him and gave him a warning, listen don’t do that, that is abusive and this, that and the other. And I don’t see that as being fair. A woman has just been spat on and has drink thrown all over her, right, and one lad just swears at the other man and the police come and give the Asian guy a warning and the two white men didn’t


Riotous Citizens get nothing, nothing at all (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

Whatever the flashpoint or combination of flashpoints that people recounted to us in interviews, there is a clear distinction within the accounts between those who saw the police as failing to act properly and therefore contributing to the escalation of the riot, and those who placed responsibility more firmly on the young South Asian men for reacting to the provocation. Those sympathetic towards the rioters clearly felt that the police had some responsibility for the events of that day. Whatever the details of what happened, the several events – the attack on one or more South Asian men, the Nazi salutes or the spitting at South Asian women – and the perceived reactions of the police confirmed the fears and expectations of at least some South Asian men present at the time. It confirmed the prior rumours and expectations about the far right and the police. Location, Location, Location Many of those who witnessed the early part of the riot were unanimous in feeling that the efforts of the police to clear the city centre by ‘driving’ the crowd towards Manningham had the effect of provoking some in the crowd. Again this might be interpreted as a potential flashpoint, precipitating event or sudden change in the social identity of the crowd (Waddington, 1992; Smelser, 1962; Drury and Reicher, 2000). However, we feel that the evidence from our interviews suggests a gradual uneven process, rather than a sudden change in the behaviour of the crowd. This tactical move by the police created a sense amongst some of those present that ‘their neighbourhood’ was being illegitimately invaded by a large force of police equipped with riot gear. Furthermore, the tactics used by the police were seen as heavy handed by those who witnessed them. Consequently, as this took place the crowd increased in size, and the attention of the violence turned from the handful of neo-fascists present in the city centre towards the police: … in the town centre you had about ten people where it initially started off. As the police officers tried to contain it and drive everyone up it sort of grew from 20, to 30, to 40, to 50 and I think there was about 50 people at the junction from Lumb Lane with West Gate. There was only about 50 people and I think there was about 40 or 50 police officers, that’s all it was. But when they pushed them back onto White Abbey, then it exploded into a full scale riot because when everyone heard that the coppers had pushed the rioters into their area, they said well if that is what they want, that is what they will get. Why are we being singled out and why is our area being used as a dustbin basically for rioters? (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser). After that the crowd was dispersed and heavy-handed tactics were being used and the strategy by the police was to get them out of the city centre and push them up into Lumb Lane and White Abbey Road, which they successfully did. The police used these heavyhanded tactics to disperse the crowd and bring them into their own area and that instigated and provoked the youth to do what they did on the day (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed).

Accounts of How the Bradford Riot Began


It still happened, yes, but I think probably what happened was that the police thought they would use the tactic of pushing the young lads back up into the Asian area. They could have easily have taken them down towards the ring road, they could have gone Bradford 7 way, but no, they had to push them back up into Manningham. So the police must have thought if they pushed them back into their area there would be no damage ... (Khalid Hussain, 30, health and social care officer).

In this way, then, a more homogenous crowd was created. What began as an ethnically diverse crowd of men and women at the Anti-Nazi League demonstration in the city centre became a crowd of largely British Pakistani men fighting the police on the boundary between the city centre and Manningham. It appears that the police were simply implementing a strategy that had been suggested after the 1995 riots had spread from the Manningham district into the city centre (Bradford Commission, 1996). We have seen from the discussion so far in this chapter that location, its meaning and the movement of the crowd in reaction to police tactics was central to the events and how people interpreted them. Keith (1993: 166) has argued that the locales where violent conflict between blacks and the police developed in the 1980s meant quite different things to the local people and the police. Local people interpret them metonymically or historically, whilst the police interpret them syntagmatically, or mainly in terms of the present conditions. This highlights the understanding of the Manningham district metonymically by local Pakistanis. It is the place where they have made their community since migration to Bradford from Pakistan began 50 years ago. For the police, however, Manningham was understood as an area of problematic policing, a centre especially of drug dealing and prostitution. Furthermore, this meaning of Manningham for the police has to be understood in contrast to the adjacent city centre, which the police saw as a valued location to be defended against the rioters. So what exactly did it mean to people that the riot was seen and remembered as having taken place in Manningham? What was the symbolic and political significance of this location for the Pakistani community? Was there something about different and conflicting meanings attributed to Manningham that led to the violence accruing there? We have already seen how some felt that the tactics of the police in pushing the crowd in that direction heightened the sense of fear and grievance against the police and had the effect of diverting the attention of some of those in the crowd from the far right to the police. Some of our interviewees felt that part of what happened was young men from the community of Manningham were defending their community, and this was at times linked to the ‘tradition’ of resistance to the police in Manningham. For this reason, some felt that Manningham would be a source of safety and solidarity against the NF: Manningham people are known for having a strong community. They all got together and took their stand from there. At the end of the day, if they went to another area they could have caused more damage to other people, but I think they felt comfortable there and they knew it was their place where they could take a stand (Serena Khan, 19, student).


Riotous Citizens I think the Asians boys thought that the NF were coming to attack our race and culture and if they saw them attacking one Asian then the rest would come and stick up for them (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19). But I think because of the so-called tradition of Manningham having these troubles over the years and riots erupting in Manningham, it is a focal point for Asian youth; whenever they have a public disturbance it happens in Manningham … (Abid Aslam, 33, health advisor).

However, by far the most common view amongst our respondents, young and old, those who witnessed the events and those who did not, those who were sympathetic to the rioters and those who were critical of them, was that the riots happened in Manningham because of the direction in which the police pushed the crowd. Some simply saw this as a convenient if flawed tactic by the police. As the Manningham area is one where many in the crowd lived and with which others would have been familiar or had relatives living there, a predominantly South Asian crowd of men moved in that direction as the city centre was cleared: It is because the way that they charged at that crowd, the crowd could only run in one direction and that was up the hill onto White Abbey Road. And then Manningham Lane was cornered off together with Barker End Road, Leeds Road, all that area, so they could only come up one way, up the hill (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed).

In contrast to this, others suggested to us that it was a deliberate tactic by the police to avoid significant damage to white-owned businesses in the city centre or other districts, so that any property damage would be to that owned by Pakistani businesses. Although this reflects the recommendations to the police by the Bradford Commission Report, those whom we interviewed in effect saw it as a way in which the police manipulated the situation in order to punish the Pakistani community: There is a very strong argument with some people that the police’s main concern was to push the potential rioters out of the town centre and predominantly into the Asian area in order to, one, protect the town and, two, if Asian properties were the surrounding building[s] that this [would] encourage an anti-riot backlash. And in a way in Bradford they succeeded because there was a loud cry of condemnation of the riot from the Asian leadership … (Mushir Choudhary, 46, community development worker). I think some people say that the police carefully orchestrated it so that if any damage was done it was actually done in the area that they thought the people were from. They sort of herded them towards Manningham. I think that a lot of people thought that as long as you keep it out of the white affluent areas, you know, if it happens in Manningham it doesn’t really matter, that sort of attitude. Containing the riot but with an ulterior motive, saying if they are going to damage anything they might as well damage their own area (Zara Hussain, 29, student). A) they took the protests out of the town centre, which is a predominately white area and brought the protests to Manningham, which is an Asian area, they did this deliberately.

Accounts of How the Bradford Riot Began


B) the protests would have finished in the town centre but instead they gave them the right to come through Manningham. The police should not have done this; they knew there would be problems (Quadar Iqbal, 52, factory worker/taxi driver and Irshad Ismail, 66, retired factory worker). Even with the riots, the way that the police dealt with the whole thing was criticized because what happened was the police made sure that they pushed the riot towards all the Asian areas with the mentality that if they are going to do any damage then they can do it in their own area. And that was not right, they shouldn’t have done that … (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19).

Finally, a few saw the reasons as lying in where the rioters lived and that the rioters chose the ground upon which to confront the police. This is linked to the claim that the riot was pre-planned by the rioters, a claim for which we have no other evidence whatsoever. This, as we see below, is a view from a ‘community leader’ unsympathetic to the rioters and with an established position within the police liaison committee: Generally you feel that you know, that it is your territory. If you go and fight police there you know where to hide, where to run in case anything goes wrong. You also know, in this case, because after seeing the video footage I believe that this was premeditated, they were all ready pre-planned, you know. Err they knew where they had kept all their petrol bombs and weapons and other things. Steel bars and whatever (Javed Seth, 47, magistrate and member of police liaison committee).

The different meanings of Manningham and the city centre to the local South Asian community on the one hand and the police on the other hand played a central role in how both behaved on the day of the riot. These conflicting meanings structure people’s accounts in our interviews of how the riot developed. Whilst many interpreted the rioters’ actions in terms of a metonymic meaning of Manningham, and the police’s actions in terms of a syntagmatic view of the locales, the empirical details varied. For some, Manningham had a tradition of resistance; for others, it was about defending homes and families. The Role of the Far Right We have already examined our interviewees’ accounts of the rumours that circulated prior to the riot, about how the NF or the BNP were going to march in Bradford. In this section we examine a related but rather different issue. How far and in what ways did our interviewees see the far right as in some sense to blame for the riot, as in some way responsible for what happened? Some saw the far right as having a role all through the spring and summer of 2001, seeing the NF and the BNP taking advantage of events and being the link between riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford. This sees the far right as pursuing a strategy of provocation of white and South Asian communities in the north of England. Furthermore, in this perspective the demonstration organized by the Anti-Nazi League would not have happened and a crowd would not have gathered in the first place:


Riotous Citizens I think again it was the NF. I think there was a lot of grievances among the whites and it was all propaganda by the NF. I think it was the chap that got beat up in Oldham, that sparked it all off. That sparked off the first riot … The old man that got beaten up in Oldham, seeing that in the media horrified so many white people, I mean it did Asians as well, but as I say you don’t hear about that kind of thing happening to Asian people all the time, but simply because it happened to a white person, that sparked off a lot of racist feeling. Especially in areas like Oldham and Burnley where you have got predominantly large Asian communities, I think those people thought, right, ‘These Pakis aren’t going to get away with it’ and I think the NF and the BNP were probably in the background getting people all hyped up (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer). If the BNP hadn’t threatened to be there and those people had not gathered there, then I don’t think the riots would have happened, to be honest with you. Because the people would have needed to have a reason to be in a place at a particular time in a big group to then cause the trouble. And then they would need something to trigger it off. Do you know what I am saying, because the Anti-Nazi League was there and they thought something was going to happen and sort of one thing led to another and it erupted. But I think if there hadn’t been the threat from the BNP, the Anti-Nazi League would not have had their rally the same day. A lot of people would not have been there if there had not been a threat. I don’t see any other reason for it to have gone off like that. I don’t think it would have happened actually if there had not been a threat from the BNP, and they were just laughing because all of a sudden they just threatened to do something, they didn’t even have to turn up and it all blew up. So they got what they wanted. They wanted to portray the Asian people as trouble causers, as rioters, as murderers even, if someone would have got hurt and then a lot of people who do not know the situation would have turned against us. And even the white people in Bradford, you could feel from the letters pages in the T&A [Bradford Telegraph and Argus] that they did have sympathy with the BNP. So I think they achieved their objective (Zara Hussain, 29, student).

Others emphasized not just the role of the far right’s strategy of provocation, but also the failure, in their eyes, of the police to control those who did come to Bradford. This also echoes some of the comments discussed earlier, where some of those present in the city centre felt that the police failed to deal with the provocative or illegal actions of some white men: The NF thought they would come to Bradford, cause a bit of havoc, cause a riot and that was a strategy from their side that worked … I put it all on their shoulders because if the police let them get away with their little marches and walking up and down doing their salutes, then it is the police’s fault, that should not go on anywhere in the country, never mind in Bradford (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed).

The threat from the far right then can also be understood in relation to the metonymic meaning of Bradford and Manningham in the South Asian imaginary as locations of not just the Pakistani Muslim diaspora in Britain but as a space of multiple diasporas. From this perspective, the actions or threatened actions of the far right and the perceived failure of the police to deal with them adequately were seen as especially provocative.

Accounts of How the Bradford Riot Began


Conclusions The local South Asian community’s metonymic understandings of Manningham and Bradford as imaginary spaces of diasporic belonging have been found to be central to their accounts of how the riot developed in Bradford. The reasons for the violence, the provocations of the far right, the actions of the police and the location of the violence can be understood in these terms. Nevertheless, this does not mean that there is one singular empirical account of what happened, why it happened and the reasons for it happening in Manningham. Rather, the imaginary metonymic view of Manningham as the location of a diasporic Pakistani Muslim community built up over the past 50 years is best thought of as the form or reference through which the contested meanings of events are deployed and played out by local people.

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Chapter 4

Diversity, Motivations and Targets: The Dynamics of a Crowd of Citizens The dynamics of the crowd have featured prominently in some previous analyses of riots. These have concerned issues such as the targets of the crowd, who was involved and their motivations. The first of these issues that we address is the role of outsiders. In both press reports and in the comments of some of our interviewees, the role of young South Asian men from outside of Bradford was highlighted. This myth of the role of outsiders has a number of effects. It enables those living in Bradford to shift the blame for the events to others from outside of the city, thus enabling some to present Bradford in the role of the victim of political agitators from outside. However, based on an analysis of data concerning those who were arrested, we show that the vast majority did indeed live in Bradford, many within a short distance of where the rioting took place (Carling et al., 2004), as has previously been found in studies of similar riots elsewhere in the UK in the 1980s (Cooper, 1985: 65; Vogler, 1991: 161). We then go on to examine the diversity of the crowd. This may seem a rather odd issue to examine, as even a cursory glance at the data concerning those who were active participants shows that the vast majority were young South Asian men. Indeed, in terms of ethnicity, it was an especially homogenous crowd compared to the riots in British inner cities of the 1980s, for example (Keith, 1993). However, we seek to analyse the diversity of the crowd not just in terms of ethnicity or age, but in terms of the types of action that those present were engaging in. This is a dimension of crowd diversity that has been highlighted in previous accounts of inner city riots in the USA (Abudu Stark et al., 1974; McPhail, 1971; Oberschall, 1993), as well as the UK (Keith, 1993). This issue of the diversity of the crowd in terms of the types of action involved is then further developed in the following section of this chapter that examines the question of targets. The targets of rioters have been closely examined in relation to a variety of riots in the past, and are often seen as an indicator of the source of the grievances or its motivations of those involved (Berk and Aldrich, 1972; Couch, 1968; Dynes and Quarantelli, 1968; Keith, 1993; Rude, 1981). Whilst in a general sense this may well be the case, what we have found upon a closer inspection of our data is that targeting is more contingent than these generalizations suggest. In particular, there were arguments amongst those in the crowd as to what were and were not legitimate targets at the time and location. In broad outline, the targets of the active participants shifted from neo-fascists attacking or threatening South Asian people in the city centre, to the police when they were pushing the crowd into the Manningham area, to property in the Manningham area to be used as barricades and


Riotous Citizens

weapons against the police, to property in Manningham that was attacked as being symbolic of white dominance. This suggests targeting is perhaps more contextual than previous authors have allowed, and supports the claims of Abudu Stark et al. (1974) that such events are more unpredictable and diverse than many appreciate. Finally, this chapter considers perceptions of police tactics and whether or not they had any role in provoking the crowd. Whilst previously some authors have examined public order from the policing perspective (for example, Drury, Stott and Farsides, 2003; P.A.J. Waddington, 1994), our analysis is limited to the perceptions of our interviewees of police tactics and the role that they felt that such tactics may have played in affecting those in the crowd. In this way our account is closer in approach to those such as Waddington, Jones and Critcher (1989). What links these issues is the theme of getting beneath the superficial veneer of the reified image of the crowd. We do this by trying to think of collective violence of this kind as interactional, purposive, contextual and dynamic. It is interactional in the sense that it emerges through interaction with other groups. These groups are plural, and in the Bradford case involve interactions between South Asian and white men, the police, other South Asian men attempting to deter them from violent actions, and so on. It is purposive in that there are more or less clearly articulated moral, political or emotional reasons for people’s actions. These three kinds of reason are not mutually exclusive. For example, one reason given for the violence was that those involved sought to prevent neo-fascists from marching in Bradford. One aspect of this is clearly political. Another is moral in the sense that the men involved were seeking, in their eyes, to defend their homes and families. Finally, the threat of the neo-fascists is also a highly emotionally charged one, given both the recent and the longer term history of conflict between the far right and South Asian communities in Britain. The violence was contextual in that who or what was attacked at any place and point in time was dependent upon the availability of materials and accessibility of targets. For example, a period of the violence took place with the rioters at the top of a hill and the police at the bottom. At this stage some of the violence entailed breaking into cars, setting them on fire and rolling them towards the police. Clearly the purpose here was to attack the police, but this was only possible because of the ready availability of vehicles (and those involved were not concerned about their ownership). Finally these dimensions – interaction, purpose and context – are dynamic. They change during the period of the riot in an often unpredictable and non-linear fashion. Who or what the rioters are interacting with changed during the event. Initially it was other white men, then the police, then property. In this way our analysis seeks to build upon the insights of previous empirical studies of violent urban disorders (for example, Abudu Stark et al., 1974; Keith, 1993; McPhail, 1971; Oberschall, 1993) that have highlighted the diversity of those involved, the diversity and mutable character of their actions and motivations and the unpredictable nature of these events.

Diversity, Motivations and Targets


The Role of Outsiders In the previous chapter we saw how many respondents, in discussing the rumours and expectations immediately prior to the riots, thought that one response to these was for people from outside of Bradford to become involved. The role of the threat of the far right, be it the BNP or the NF, or those with right-wing views but without any formal affiliation, in threatening to come to Bradford is without question. However, what we are concerned with here is the perceived role of young South Asian men from outside of Bradford. Many of our respondents were adamant that outsiders had played a key role before and during the riots. This view is found amongst older as well as young respondents. A particular theme of their accounts of the role of outsiders was the use of mobile phones to mobilize people from outside of Manningham and indeed outside of Bradford: The kids from Oldham came here because they were informed about the location via mobile phones. It wasn’t just kids from Bradford. The youths came from Oldham, Huddersfield and Wakefield. When they all got together, that is when the rioting began (Quadar Iqbal, 52, factory worker/taxi driver and Irshad Ismail, 66, retired factory worker). There was talk about lads that had come from outside of Bradford who were responsible, who could have sparked off the whole thing in the first place. I mean, there was all kind of talk after the riots and even with the arrests that were made, people were saying they were boys from outside of Bradford, you know, lads who had been involved in the riots in Oldham, Burnley, where ever, they had got a feel for it, they had liked it and they wanted to do it somewhere else (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer).

What is clear from this is that different people had different reasons for emphasizing the role of outsiders. For young people sympathetic to the rioters, it is evidence of a wider solidarity amongst Pakistani youth against the far right in the wake of events in Oldham and Burnley. For older people, it is a way of distancing the causes of the riots from their own community. They are effectively blaming anonymous others for the events. Consequently, the older interviewees talk about ‘many’ or ‘most’ of those involved and indeed arrested and convicted for their role in the riots as being from outside of Manningham and even outside of Bradford. However, evidence about those arrested and tried for offences committed in connection with the riot on 7 July contradict some of the impressions given by at least some of our interviewees in a number of important respects. Table 4.1 provides information on the place of residence of those tried for offences committed during the riots of 7 July 2001, based upon Carling et al.’s analysis of data provided by the West Yorkshire Police (Carling et al., 2004). Carling et al. only provided the raw numbers and we have calculated the percentages for clarity of presentation. This data clearly shows that the majority of those that were brought before the courts lived within urban Bradford. Obviously the claims of some of our interviewees that ‘most’ or ‘many’ were not from Bradford are contradicted by this data. It may be the case that those who were not from Bradford found it easier to evade detection. However, the extensive use of video evidence and the wide publication of photographs of those sought by police led to a high level of arrest and conviction, thus we can be confident


Riotous Citizens

that this is a fair and reasonable representation of those active within the riot within the view of police video surveillance. There is no reason to expect that anyone from outside of Bradford would be more likely to avoid such surveillance. Table 4.1 Defendants by place of residence (Carling data) Area

Percentage of defendants


Greater Manningham






Leeds Road area



Bowling area



Undercliffe area



Inner Bradford sub-total






Other urban Bradford



Urban Bradford sub-total






Other Bradford district



Bradford district total






Other West Yorkshire



West Yorkshire total



Other places






Source: Calculated from Carling et al., 2004: 21, table 4.1 Note: Percentages may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

These issues of where the rioters lived are important in a number of respects. The role of territoriality in the context of participants’ behaviour in riot situations has been a focus of some aspects of previous analyses (for example, Waddington, 2007: 50). They may be seen as defending their territory, their neighbourhood, often in a symbolic sense (Keith, 1993). Others have found a similar concentration of arrestees living in the immediate areas of riots (Cooper, 1985; Vogler, 1991: 161). However, in the Bradford case the situation is not as straightforward. Whilst many of those arrested certainly came from the ‘greater Manningham’ area, many others did not and this was a potential source of division amongst the rioters, given the informal

Diversity, Motivations and Targets


attachments to neighbourhood amongst young South Asian men and animosity between them. As Kamran and Omar describe below, these conflicts were subsumed in the context of their common cause against the police: They all come together. Say the Girlington Boys standing next to the Manningham Boys saying listen bro pass us a brick. Yeah and there you go (laughing). And on a normal day ‘Oi where you from?’ ‘I’m from Manningham’. And they would brick him instead. You know what I mean, instead of saying oh listen bro pass us a brick. Like I was saying on occasions like that they are come together. But on a normal day like today, if you can call it a normal day it is divided … … like if you go up into Girlington you’d see a group of Girlington lads stood in a certain area. And if you go into Manningham you might see a group of Manningham lads sat in a little area. You know just say they’re doing nothing, probably having a smoke or something. And they just pick up on each other (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

Although people from outside of Manningham were involved, those who were arrested and tried were overwhelmingly from within Bradford itself. Furthermore, the outside agitator and rioter brought in from outside of Bradford by mobile phone appears to have been largely a myth. However, we should not discount the role that mobile phones played in mobilizing people over shorter distances within Bradford. Nevertheless, it seems that those involved were just as likely to be explaining their whereabouts to relatives. Mobile phones could just as easily be used to restrain rioters as mobilize them, as the following newspaper report illustrates: Zamir Hussain was caught on police video footage answering a call from his wife on his mobile phone after he failed to return from work as expected (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 March 2002).

The report goes on to tell us that Zamir Hussain was sentenced to four and a half years for riot, being accused of rolling burning cars and hitting golf balls towards police lines. We have seen that the role of outsiders was exaggerated, and that in terms of those arrested and convicted, they were predominantly from the Manningham area or other parts of inner city Bradford. Although mobile phones may have played a role in passing information on about what happened in the city centre, we did not speak to anyone who used a mobile phone to pass on information about the disturbances or heard of them via a mobile. Diversity of the Crowd One of the features in the analysis of riots which is often overlooked is the diversity of the crowd. Analyses as diverse in their intellectual origins as Le Bon (2002), Reicher (1984) and Waddington, Jones and Critcher (1989) see an essential unity


Riotous Citizens

to the violent crowd once it is in action. However, others such as Keith (1993) stress the heterogeneity of the crowd. In many respects the crowd in Bradford was strikingly homogenous in terms of ethnic and religious background and gender. They were overwhelmingly Pakistani men. According to figures from the West Yorkshire Police, of the 305 people arrested, 88 per cent were South Asian, 10 per cent were white and 2 per cent were African-Caribbean (West Yorkshire Police, 2004). It has also been reported that 60 per cent of those arrested for the most serious public order offences were unemployed (Carling et al., 2004). The 2001 Census shows that 44.8 per cent of Pakistani males aged 16–24 in Bradford were economically inactive and, of the economically active, 27.2 per cent were unemployed, giving a probable unemployed rate of 72 per cent. The equivalent figures for those over 25 are 32.1 per cent, 17.5 per cent and 49.6 per cent. In terms of labour market status, the rioters who were arrested do not seem to have been unrepresentative of Pakistani men from Bradford. As is typically the case with comparable violent disturbances in Britain in the past, the popular image is one of the young male rioter, despite considerable evidence from arrest figures that this is something of a distortion (Cooper, 1985: 64; Keith, 1993: 102–7). Table 4.2 presents data on the ages of the rioters calculated from Carling et al. (2004) in comparison to the age profile of the male Pakistani population in Bradford from the 2001 Population Census. There are a number of important points to make about this data and the inferences that may be drawn from it. Table 4.2

Ages of those convicted of public order offences compared to Pakistani male population in Bradford Age

15 and under


2001 Census



16 to 17



18 to 19



20 to 24



25 to 29



30 to 34



35 to 39



40 to 44



45 to 49



691 1,541 1,485 3,773 3,018 2,699 1,477 1,633 1,722

3.8% 8.5% 8.2% 20.9% 16.7% 15.0% 8.2% 9.1% 9.5%

Source: Conviction data from Carling et al., 2004; Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census Note: Percentages may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

Diversity, Motivations and Targets


First and foremost is the wide age range of those convicted. This alone is sufficient to undermine those simplistic claims about the riot involving Pakistani youth who were alienated from both their parents’ culture and wider British society through being caught between ‘two cultures’. It also undermines those attempts to seek out some average profile of the ‘rioter’. As Keith has argued previously: ‘an average means little or nothing if there is considerable variation about this average …’ (Keith, 1993: 107). Consequently, the discussions of Carling et al. (2004) about the average ages of the rioters and of those who were convicted of particular types of offence are largely meaningless as sociological analyses. We can infer two main things from the data on the ages of those convicted. Firstly, the riot involved a wide age range of men from the local community. The broad shape of the age distribution of those convicted follows that for Pakistani men in Bradford as a whole. However, there is a relative over-representation of those aged under 25. We would suggest that there are a number of reasons for this that can be broadly termed biographical availability. Quite simply people of that age are more likely to have been there for reasons which are entirely unconnected with the riot. We have already seen how unemployment rates for both those convicted and the younger Pakistani males in Bradford are higher than for those who are older. Those without employment are more likely to be present. Furthermore, we would suggest that younger men are less likely to be married and have children, and therefore would be more likely to have been available to become involved. Unfortunately, we have no data on the marital and parental circumstances of those convicted; however, the age data alone are suggestive of the veracity of such an inference. Not surprisingly, similar conclusions have been drawn from studies of those who have become involved in riots elsewhere (McPhail, 1971: 1069). In summary, this was not simply a crowd of male Pakistani teenagers, as might be inferred from comments at the time as well as popular memory of the events. It is also important to recognize that some of those in the crowd were seeking to prevent further violence, others actively helping those caught in the arson attacks on pubs, whilst others were spectators. Oberschall (1993) made a useful set of distinctions between different levels of participation based upon his detailed analysis of the Los Angeles riot of 1965. These range from activists who directly engage the police, through looters who take advantage of the premises previously broken into by activists, others who encourage the activists and the looters, to those who simply observe the events (Oberschall, 1993: 243). Keith’s (1993) analysis of arrest statistics of riots in London during the 1980s attempts a similar exercise in disaggregating the image of the rioter. He highlights how different actions are related to different categories of person within the crowd: Rioting is a vague term that covers many repertoires of behaviour. Actors in the crowd played very different roles and … these roles were not evenly distributed across all groups present but were related to age, gender, residence and, most strongly of all, ethnicity (Keith, 1993: 98).

The risk with this, however, is that it conflates types of action with categories of actor, leaving open the suggestion that their actions are somehow a result of predispositions


Riotous Citizens

arising from the actor’s age, ethnicity, and so on. Although Keith is acutely aware of the limitations of his data, he does assume that the charges in some way relate to what different kinds of people were doing during this riot. However, this is only partly the case. The nature of any individual’s involvement and actions changes during the riot so that raw arrest data can only be a representation of the illegal acts which they have been accused of committing. As McPhail (1971) has noted, this is a major problem for measuring participation in a riot. Furthermore, in the Bradford case the charge of riot was applied indiscriminately across a whole swathe of individuals, irrespective of the precise actions they were involved in. This arose from the permissive character of the legislation on riot and how it was implemented. Our evidence shows a more complex picture than that suggested by Keith’s analysis. In a similar way, Oberschall’s (1993) typology suggests that certain types of person perform only particular categories of act. Young men are activists, boys are looters, and so on. In contrast to this we shall show that the same individuals became involved in different actions at different points in time during a riot. First of all we need to extend Oberschall’s typology of actions. He was seeking a singular collective identity or generalized belief in order to explain a riot (Oberschall, 1993: 240). Once we question this prerequisite we can see that other possibilities of types of action emerge. To Oberschall’s activists, looters, jeerers and observers, we can add restrainers and helpers. Restraining action refers to those who try to prevent activists or others from their actions. This is distinct from helping, as helping actions typically did not aim to stop the riot. The restrainers had a distinct role in trying to act as intermediaries, negotiating between the rioters and the police. Helping actions are those that help the police with information, phoning the fire service or providing sustenance. Intervening to help individuals threatened by the actions of the rioters or to prevent attacks on property were, as we shall see below, carried out in some cases by those who at other points had been involved as active participants. One of our critical findings is that some individuals performed different actions at different times. For instance, both restrainers and helpers at various points became activists. The problem as we see it is that too much analytical attention has been given to the activists and implicitly equates types of action with particular categories of actor. This may be a reasonable assumption to make most of the time, but it is one that is not sustainable if we take seriously arguments that people’s behaviour in these circumstances is both situationally specific, and the processes through which they become involved casual and unpredictable (Abudu Stark et al., 1974; McPhail, 1971; Oberschall, 1993: 256–8). The watchers or observers of the riot were apparently quite numerous, with some of our informants suggesting that they significantly outnumbered the active participants. Estimates of the size of the crowd were typically of around 300 to 400, most of whom at any one point in time were ‘just watching’, as Alisah Khaleeq told us: There were a lot of bystanders just watching. There were about a hundred lads throwing stones but the rest were just there watching. I don’t even think a hundred were throwing stones, I think it was less than that, but there were a lot more just watching what was going on (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer).

Diversity, Motivations and Targets


However, others suggested that not all of those watching were entirely passive. Whilst they were not necessarily cheering on the active participants, there was evidence of some at least helping the active participants, as the following account from Lukman Afzal suggests: They weren’t saying do it, but there was one guy who was standing near All Sports and he was telling us which way to go to get away from the coppers. He was directing us (Lukman Afzal, 17, on government training scheme).

The following instances illustrate the ways in which some in the crowd attempted to persuade active participants not to carry out certain acts. In one case this was to dissuade them from breaking into cars, setting them on fire and rolling them down the hill towards police lines. The reason for this was that the vehicles were seen as local South Asian people’s property. Furthermore, it also illustrates that it was not just ‘elders’ acting in this way but younger people present who at other points may have been active participants: There were a few of them saying no that’s it when they got to the point when they were burning the cars and rolling them down. There were people saying look you are going too far now. The elderly, mostly the elderly, but there were a few young ones saying look, why are breaking these cars, setting them on fire and rolling them down, these are our cars. Because you know then they realized that we were damaging our own property, but I think that is when they went a bit too far (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

Some from the local South Asian community were helpers, being rather more active in their support of the police; for instance, serving the officers with tea and biscuits on the streets where the violence was taking place, as recalled by Zahida Ali: … when the police were actually lined up on … Heaton Road, I saw Asian families coming out and giving them tea and biscuits. You know and my opinion was ‘I hope they choke on that’. Yeah, there were people talking to the police or offering them Rich Tea biscuits or a cup of tea, I saw some of that going on, yeah. But that was like a lot of the older generation of Asians what did not probably have an understanding or probably did not know what was going on (Zahida Ali, 31, support worker).

One important episode during the riots was the setting on fire of local pubs and the Labour club. At this point, some bystanders acted to help those inside the building escape, despite the fact that the police and the fire brigade were seemingly unable to assist, as recounted by Zara Hussain who herself tried several times to contact the fire service: A man had come to the pub about five minutes before and he was knocking on the door because people were barricading themselves in, you see, as they were afraid of being attacked, and he was telling them to get out because he had seen what they had done to the other pubs down the road, the Labour Club and the Upper Globe. And I think he realized that people could get hurt … he was an Asian, Pakistani man ... I rang the fire brigade a few times. I rang them three or four times, but obviously they could not come until the police had made that place safe (Zara Hussain, 29, student).


Riotous Citizens

In another illustration of how individual rioters were not always engaged in violent actions against the police, property or other people, one of our interviewees recalled how a journalist was helped by some of them. Instead of stealing her camera, they removed the film, returned it to her and then escorted her to the police lines. He suggested that the reason for this was to prevent any photographs she had taken being used as evidence in any future prosecutions against them: … there was a reporter kind of behind or amongst the rioters and she had her camera taken off her by the rioters. They were thinking, you are taking our photos what do you think you are doing. So they didn’t actually take the camera but they took the film out of it and they returned the camera and says ‘Get out of it before we jump you’. But … they had the sense to take the film out of the camera, return the camera to her, take her back to the police line, it was like an escort before she got jumped by all the others. About seven guys around her, escorting her to the police line (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser).

Another interviewee told us of another example of helper. A well-known local trade unionist, who was not involved in the violence and was seeking ways to stop it, collaborated with some of the active participants in helping to guide a bus out of the immediate vicinity of the violence between the active participants and the police. He intervened to temporarily stop the stone-throwing against the police, and persuaded a section of those who had been attacking the police to help him guide the bus out of the immediate area of the conflict. Afterwards the battle resumed and continued for several hours: He was actually stood next to me right at the height of the rioting on White Abbey Road and one of the buses turned up with about 30 or 40 passengers and it really got caught between the police and the youngsters, and he, along with a group of youngsters, guided the bus out. So there were young people and some community leaders who were trying to calm things down (Mushir Choudhary, 46, male community development worker).

The following newspaper reports of three of the trials illustrate quite graphically how in different contexts the same individuals acted in quite different ways. In the first case, Mudasar Khan, who was imprisoned for riot, was, early on in the events, protecting a white-owned property in the city centre. In the second case, Mohammed Bashir served drinks to the police, but was jailed for four years for his later activities during the riot. Finally, Mohammed Ali Zaman was jailed for two and a half years for throwing three stones, but had also tried to protect a garage and persuade others to stop the violence and leave the area: A student who protected a pet shop owner and a pregnant woman from the baying mob during the heat of the Bradford riots has been given a reduced prison sentence. Mudasar Khan was told that he deserved two years in jail for hurling a piece of rubble towards police lines during the troubles, but a judge yesterday decided to reduce that by half after hearing how the 21-year-old intervened to stop pet shop owner Pete Booth being attacked. Mr Booth told the city’s crown court how he feared for his premises in Sunbridge Road, his teenage daughter and a work colleague when the violence erupted last July. And he told how Khan and other Asian youths had stood guard in the doorway of his business. Mr Booth … said it was a scene of ‘pandemonium’’ as he and his colleague tried to drag bird

Diversity, Motivations and Targets


stands and other equipment back into the shop. But he said Khan and the other youths ran over to help. ‘As we were getting the last things in the shop it was absolutely chaotic,’ he said. ‘This gentleman and about four other youths stood across the front of my door. They were protecting myself, the man who works for me and my shop. They were stopping them coming through ... they (the rioters) could have destroyed the shop. They were all putting their arms up and saying: “Stop, this is stupid”.’ Mr Booth estimated that Khan and others were outside his shop for about ten or 15 minutes and he described how Khan and another youth then went to the aid of a pregnant woman and a female shopper who were caught up in the violence. ‘I asked this gentleman and another lad to bring the two ladies into the shop ... which they did.’ Khan was then said to have escorted the pregnant woman out of the shop with the aid of police officers when she began breathing erratically and panicked. When he was asked by Khan’s barrister what would have happened if he and the other youths had not been there Mr Booth replied: ‘My shop would have been absolutely annihilated.’ The court heard that a couple of hours after that incident Khan, of Heaton Road, Manningham, was captured on police video footage throwing a piece of rubble towards police lines during a confrontation in the Infirmary Fields area (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 23 January 2002). Mohammed Bashir and his family provided drinks for exhausted officers suffering from dehydration, Bradford Crown Court was told. Later that evening Bashir, pictured during the riots, was involved in throwing missiles at police lines and looting a fire-damaged garage in Oak Lane … Sophie Drake, prosecuting, said Bashir was first seen in a car in the city centre at 5.45pm on July 7 last year. Just over an hour later he was standing in the background as others threw missiles at the police and shortly before 8pm was seen throwing a stone. He was also seen standing behind a lamppost, with a brick in his hand. At 1.22am he was seen carrying something out of the Lister Park Garage where a £5 million fire had been started (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 8 October 2002). Mohammed Ali Zaman was caught on film throwing three stones at police lines, but witnesses yesterday told Bradford Crown Court how he also tried to protect cars at a garage and usher youngsters off the streets. Garage manager Zafar Mahmood described how he was unable to cope at his Whetley Motor Company premises when the violence broke out, but he saw Zaman and his brother pushing at least one vehicle off the road onto the forecourt. Community worker and Prince’s Trust outreach manager Mohammed Amran told the court how he and other community leaders went to the area after a meeting with police and it was at that time that he saw Zaman trying to get youngsters to go home (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 29 June 2002).

It would be too easy to dismiss these as just a few exceptional examples. However, these kinds of helping and restraining actions are not the ones that tend to be picked up on by police, bystanders or the media. The more spectacular violent acts capture people’s attention and stick in their memories. The important point that they illustrate is the diversity of action within the crowd, and the significance of the point made by McPhail (1971) long ago that individuals engage in a variety of behaviours with quite different meanings and motivations at different points during such episodes of collective violence.


Riotous Citizens

Motivations and Emotions of the Rioters The motivations and emotions of rioters have been the focus for much of the theorizing about violent crowds. Emotions in particular have been the focus of the classical approaches to crowd behaviour (Tarde, 1969; 2001; Le Bon, 2002; Blumer 1969). However, their accounts of the crowd’s emotions are largely derogatory, equating emotional expression with irrationality. More recently, social movement scholars have given more attention to the emotional dimensions of protest (for example, Goodwin, Jasper and Poletta, 2000; Jasper, 1997), but these have not addressed the emotions of violent crowds. Motivations and emotions ranging from fun, being one of the boys, defending families against the NF and fear about what was happening are all evident in our interviews with those who were present at the time of the violence. This demonstrates the diversity of emotion and motivation amongst the ‘activist’ sections of the crowd: … some people in the crowd thought it was fun to throw stones at the police, it probably was at the time … A few of them, to be honest with you, right, didn’t know what they were doing. They just went and saw it as oh I am going to be one of the boys, I’m gonna go down, I’m just gonna throw a few punches or throw a few bricks. But some of them were thinking oh it isn’t just to go have a big laugh and have a big night, it was because generally they were scared of what could happen to their families, right. So you know, it is like I say, some they didn’t have a clue, they were just like the NF is coming, let’s go for a fight. Let’s go for a fight, Bradford against whatever. That’s what they were thinking but some of them were genuinely thinking oh it is to protect my family ... but there were a few you could see it on their faces that they were actually worried thinking oh what is going to happen next. You know they were actually afraid (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

The various motivations and emotions of the activist section was only one source of emotional diversity. The emotions of those who were just watching were also variable. Interestingly, fear of what the activists might do to them did not feature in their accounts. Rather there was more concern at the uncertainty of the whole situation. As Zara Hussain, who was watching at the time, told us: People were just standing around watching what was going on. Obviously they did not feel any fear for themselves, otherwise they would not have been stood there ... I don’t know why but I have got to say when I was there, I did not feel threatened at all and there were people outside watching from the area, who live in the area and they did not feel threatened ... but you just didn’t know how people were going to react, it was such a volatile situation. But we did not feel that our lives were in danger or our well being or our safety was threatened (Zara Hussain, 29, student).

Further sources of diversity of motivation amongst some of those in the crowd arose from the changing context of events and actions of the police. Initially what motivated the violence of the activists was the presence of neo-fascists in the city centre and their attacks on South Asian men, so they attacked those whom they believed to be the neo-fascists involved in these attacks. Subsequently, they then believed that the

Diversity, Motivations and Targets


police were apparently ‘protecting’ the neo-fascist elements in the city centre. This provided the motivation for the initial attacks on the police. Feelings against the police continued but changed their rationale and motivation as the police were pushing the crowd in the direction of Manningham, and the police were blamed for allowing the NF to come to Bradford. Some of those present believed that the NF were behind the police line pushing up Whetley Hill into the South Asian area of Manningham. This is clear from the following accounts of the succession of events: First of all it was oh some youths from out of town are causing trouble in our town centre and it was like ‘Stop the Nazis, stop the Nazis’. People were chanting that in the town centre. I think there was a group of ten lads running around shouting that. And as soon as it went onto West Gate is was like ‘Oh the coppers don’t give a damn about us’, ‘They are racist, they are more intent on keeping the Nazis safe than us’. When it went onto the bottom of Wetley Hill it was like ‘The coppers are racist, they have pushed the riot into our area and they have let the Nazis go, and now they are blaming us for the trouble’ (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser). If you look at what happened on the day at White Abbey Road there was a concentration of police and Asian youths, there was hardly any damage to any buildings or any shops on White Abbey Road. So the intention was not to loot or destroy buildings; the interest of the Asian youth was directed towards the police at that time. Because they felt that the BNP were getting away with it and the Asian youths were getting picked up on it (Gafoor Abdul, 33, project co-ordinator). Yeah, yeah they were behind the police so it was more or less like the police were a shield for them and the NF freely walked up (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

The motivations and emotions of those involved in the crowd exhibit a diversity that is related to the types of behaviour involved, for example between ‘activists’ and ‘observers’. Furthermore, the feelings and motivations of the activists changed during the riot depending upon the context, the actions of the neo-fascists on the one hand and the police on the other. The motivations and emotions of those present then are diverse and dynamic, yet socially structured and contextual. Targets The selection of targets has been seen by a variety of authors as providing useful evidence of the motivation of the crowd, as an expression of its collective identity or as the focus of its grievances (Berk and Aldrich, 1972; Couch, 1968; Dynes and Quarantelli, 1968; Keith, 1993; Rude, 1981). However, what emerged from our analysis was not so much the selection of targets as an expression of grievances as the dynamics of that selection. What and who was targeted changed during the duration of the riot, and seemed to be dependent upon interactional and contextual issues, as well as apparently longer run grievances. Examining the targets explores in further detail the dynamic and contextual nature of motivations.


Riotous Citizens

A particular theme of the media accounts of the riots, and indeed some of our interviews, was whether or not the targets were selected on the basis of ethnicity. For example, Mushir Choudhary was convinced that there had been a process of selection of which properties to attack, implying that this had been because they were not South Asian-owned businesses. Zara Hussain was more explicit about the racism involved in the selection of targets, stating that in her view the aggression towards the police was because they are mostly white: … if you look at the properties that were damaged, with the exception of the BMW garage all of them were pubs. If they weren’t pubs that were open it was disused pubs. The Labour Social Club, the pub on White Abbey Road and the pub on Heaton Road. So that suggested to us some level of selection (Mushir Choudhary, 46, community development worker). It was against the police, which I think was racist obviously because they knew that there would not be many Pakistani, Muslims, Asians in there which was wrong. It was just a feeling that we had that they wouldn’t try anything with us or they wouldn’t brick our windows because they left all the Asian shops intact. They attacked the businesses that they assumed were owned by white people, which was wrong (Zara Hussain, 29, student).

Other interviewees provided rather different judgements about the reasons behind the selection of targets. In these instances it is seen in terms of how useful those properties and businesses are to the local South Asian community. Alternatively, those that were attacked were seen as having no meaningful contact with the local community, as is suggested for the cases of the pubs and similar businesses. This was also suggestive of longer term grievances held by some in the crowd against particular local businesses: I mean how many Asian shops got destroyed? How many? No, I don’t think there was any. I think there might have been some minor damage to one or two. I mean, let’s face it, if they wanted to destroy those shops they could have taken those shutters down and they could have taken the cloth and everything but no, because they benefit us. Why should we destroy something that benefits us? … Some places didn’t suffer a lot of damage but they were places that come into good use and that is a clear distinction there, because the parts of the community, the centres and the pubs, the centres that they didn’t use got destroyed … (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser). … the young people cannot relate themselves to that building or business because they will not have any, one could look at it as to how does the BMW garage include the local community. It is like if we were running a community centre here and if we get people from Manningham and the local community would not benefit, wouldn’t the local community say ‘Well come on, you are on the doorstep, what benefit do you have for us, what do we get from you being here?’ They should be a part of that community, yes, very much so ... For example, the way the community will look at the BMW garage is that it is a large business that has a large income, being in that area they could encourage local people to work for them. Give something back to the community (Mehboob Akhtar, 37, community centre manager).

Diversity, Motivations and Targets


However, others suggested that the damage suffered by property was much more dependent upon the context of what was happening at the time. At the early stages on White Abbey Road, it was suggested the focus of the rioters was the police and how they had ‘allowed’ the BNP into Bradford. Consequently, the violence was directed towards them rather than white-owned property. The shops and properties in that area were not attacked. Similarly there were cars stolen and rolled down the hill towards police lines only when this became feasible with the relative locations of the crowd and the police. It did not especially matter who owned the vehicles, they were just available at the side of the road, or were from an Asian-owned car dealership: … they came up White Abbey Road and there is a whole parade of shops there. Not one shop got damaged there and I know that a lot of people say that is because they are Asian shops, no I don’t think so. I think everything that was being thrown, was being thrown at the police. They weren’t targeting no buildings ... and then I know that the car garage on the left hand side as you are going down White Abbey Road, a lot of their cars were used as missiles (Zahida Ali, 31, support worker). They were just cars that were parked there. Public cars more or less … at that stage there was a problem with the police but they were more or less public cars. They more or less broke into a car put the hand brake down, whatever, and just rolled the car down. So they were public cars (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

Furthermore, some suggested that the focus upon attacking pubs was because they were seen as places where the far right gathers and meets. As Alisah Khaleeq told us: … the pubs on there were damaged and burnt down. Which, you know, it just makes you think OK you might not approve of what is going on in the pubs and I think the reason why they went for the pubs because they are places for right-wing extremists to gather, the NF or whatever (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer).

In a similar way, another eye-witness to the disorders described how the violence could not be simply racially motivated as white people in cars (what she calls ‘white cars’) passing by the rioters were left alone, just as were those with South Asian occupants such as herself: I mean when I drove down with a friend, you know, they didn’t actually say nothing to us, they were allowing us pass and there were a few people in white cars, they were allowing them. So I don’t think they were targeting that they were being racist, I think it was just the fact that they were angry with the police (Zahida Ali, 31, support worker).

The attack on the BMW garage in particular was seen to have been due to criminal motivations. We have already seen how this occurred after the main period of rioting, the confrontation with the police, had finished. Furthermore, there is evidence of some rioters attempting to dissuade others from attacking it. We were also told about events around the attack on Lister’s BMW garage where some of the active


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participants attempted to dissuade others from attacking it, suggesting that it was people from outside the immediate area who were involved: These were professional criminals because you or me, if we want to go and try and open the BMW car, you can’t even open the door without keys you know, you don’t know how to open that. They are the most secure cars, you know. These professionals, they are professional criminals, they know how to open the door and how to start the car. Without key how can we start, so they were professionals (Javed Seth, 47, magistrate and member of police liaison committee). I actually went over to the BMW garage. I lived in that area, you see, so I knew everyone and all the people that started off by bricking the BMW garage and setting the cars on fire were not from that area. They were thieves that had come there specifically to steal the cars. And the people who are supposedly the criminals and the rioters were stood back saying ‘Oi, don’t come round here, I know these people that live here. You want to do that, do it somewhere else’ (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser).

From our evidence we have concluded that it is not possible to rationalize the targeting of attacks on property purely in terms of anti-white racism or longstanding grievances against particular businesses. Previous studies that may have come to such conclusions have often done so by imputing such motives to rioters based on the patterning of targets (Bradford Commission, 1996). However, we have used evidence from those who witnessed the events to show that longer term grievances are only part of the picture, and the contingencies of context and feasibility of attack also significantly influence whose property is attacked; if it was available to be used as a weapon against the police, then South Asian-owned property was just as likely to be used as white-owned property. For much of the riot the main targets were the police rather than white people generally or unpopular businesses. Police Tactics During the Riot Perhaps inevitably, the police tactics have been the subject of some controversy. The following comment from a member of the police liaison committee gives us some insight into the prior preparation and planning for the police operation on the day. This reinforces other evidence, such as police comments to the press afterwards, that the police did to some extent lose control of the situation and did not expect and were not prepared for violence on such a scale: I don’t think they could do anything … because we had decided in our meeting that the police would keep visible presence, high profile visible presence there, with some senior officers available all the time. And the police would not try to interfere physically. Let them go ahead and then try to disperse them. That’s what the police were trying to do. Nobody expected three or four hundred people there (Javed Seth, 47, magistrate and member of police liaison committee).

Amongst those who witnessed the events, there was often criticism of the tactics used by the police. The police were often seen as using what were felt by some to be inappropriate tactics. For these interviewees, the police made an already tense

Diversity, Motivations and Targets


situation of minor but violent skirmishes between small groups of South Asian men and white men into an even more violent one involving much larger numbers of people. In the previous chapter, we saw how many of those whom we interviewed felt that the police’s methods of clearing people from the city centre were provocative and had the effect of driving the riot into Manningham. However, for those who were present, the violence and aggression of the police tactics were also seen as provocative: It was just the manner in which the police were trying to disperse the crowd, they did manage to disperse the crowd eventually, but it was the tactics they were using, like smacking anyone with their batons who got in their way. They could have just asked people to move on politely, we are not animals, we are humans like everyone ... one of my friends was just sat there and he was coshed over the head for nothing … and video footage shows he was just sat there and he was hit around the head for nothing. So it just shows you. Innocent people got caught up in it as well (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed). I think they handled it wrong. They were there to do their job, but the way they did it, I don’t think they did it right because I think they were beating people up, hitting people and throwing them to the ground and violently arresting them, so I think the way that they did it was wrong (Ibrar Khan, 18, student).

This criticism of police tactics also extended to the specific use of horses and dogs by the police to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, this was not always effective from the police’s point of view. Animals, however well trained, do not apparently always behave as their handlers would like, and are not always able to distinguish between rioters, bystanders and police officers: Oh yeah, they had dogs. And I actually saw one officer being injured by one of their own dogs (laughing). That was a laugh. I found that funny actually. I wonder if he put in a charge for police brutality (laughing) (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser). My brother was there because he had been in town shopping ... He was on Crown Street and I saw him on the news and we have actually got [video] footage where he is stood there and all of a sudden a police horse charges up the street and he got knocked over ... (Henna Majid, 35, playgroup worker, wife of convicted rioter).

A further prominent theme in some of our interviews was the use of police from outside of Bradford. As we saw earlier, 425 officers from nine other forces in the north of England were drawn into Bradford at short notice to support the local officers (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 9 July 2001). However, some of our interviewees felt that this led to a deterioration in the quality of policing and the ways in which the police interacted with the local community on the day: It was interesting how there seemed to be such a massive number that they brought in from outside, and apparently local Bradford police officers are a lot more sensitive to community needs and they have a different way of approaching things compared with the people they brought in from outside (Noor Khan, 46, female professional).


Riotous Citizens The majority of those police officers that were there on that day were officers from out of town so they didn’t give a toss about us. They thought get them out of the city centre and let them cause a riot in their own area, and that was their strategy and the heavy-handed tactics that they used, and I think that is what provoked the youths to carry on in that way (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed).

A final set of criticisms of the police was their failure to defend properties, both those owned by whites and those owned by South Asians. This reflects both the loss of control over the situation by the police, but also their priority, also evident in the 1995 disturbances (Bradford Commission, 1996), of protecting their Lawcroft House police station: … they weren’t bothered about the BMW garage being broke into or the cars coming out. I mean, because I did, I drove down and we were diverted by a police officer but they were keeping everybody well away from the police station. And they were just lined up like it was Buckingham Palace, you know, and I even stopped and said I think you need help down there. I think they are breaking into the garage down the road, and it was just ‘Move along’ (Zahida Ali, 31, support worker).

In summary, there were a number of concerns about police tactics during the events that were evident from our interviews. Some felt that excessive force had been used by the police when clearing the city centre in the wake of the initial skirmishes. They cited examples of entirely innocent bystanders being hurt. Others felt that the use of dogs and horses was unnecessary, dangerous and even counter-productive, as a police dog attacked an officer. The use of police officers from outside of Bradford after the violence had begun meant that they did not know the area and this led to less sensitive policing of an already difficult situation. Finally, many felt that the police were more interested in defending their fort in Manningham – Lawcroft House police station. Conclusion In this chapter we have examined the dynamics and diversity of the motivations, emotions, behaviours and targets of those in the crowd. Alongside this, we have challenged the myth about the role of outsiders in the violence. Finally, we have considered views about the police tactics on the day. For us the most important theme has been to analyse the diversity and contextual dynamics of the different behaviours, emotions, motivations and targets of those involved. At a demographic level, this has entailed recognizing the impossibility of identifying an average or typical rioter. At an interactional level it has involved taking seriously the unpredictable and non-linear character of the actions of many of those involved. It is not possible to ‘read-off’ the behaviours involved either in terms of long-run grievances or personal characteristics. Individuals engaged in different behaviours aimed at different targets for different reasons involving different emotions at various points during the day. The overall image is one of structured but open-ended and contextual complexity.

Chapter 5

‘Take Me to Your Leader’: Reflections on Power, ‘Race’ and the Politics of Rioting Introduction The political context and consequences of the riots have been central to debates in this field, but what has often been lacking are the voices of those most affected. Riots have profound impacts on the communities where they occur, not just in material terms nor in terms of how others see them, but also at the level of how the community now sees the social world around them. Obviously we cannot go into great detail on such a wide range of issues. However, we do want to address some important aspects of the context of the Bradford riot and its longer term consequences from the perspective of those whom we interviewed. We begin by considering perceptions of the riot in Bradford in the context of the earlier riots in the north west of England and then the 1995 riot in Bradford. Academic analysis often makes much of the history of rioting and how this may play a role in leading up to subsequent riots. Thompson (1991), for instance, describes food riots as an ‘inherited pattern of action’. Keith (1993) highlighted the significance of local histories as precursors to the riots of the 1980s, and Smelser (1962) saw riots acting as precipitating factors for subsequent riots. Although very different from each other, each of these rarely specify in a convincing manner the precise mechanisms or processes by which such histories might be causally efficacious. This is of particular importance in the case of Bradford as some have highlighted the role of earlier events in Bradford’s history as a crucial part of the context of the events of 2001. We then go on to examine people’s views of the police and the policing of the Pakistani community in Bradford. These issues have had a very significant airing both generally in relation to ethnic minorities in the UK and as part of the debate around the riots in the country’s cities in the 1980s (Benyon, 1984; Benyon and Solomos, 1987; Cowell, Jones and Young, 1982; Keith, 1993). Furthermore, these issues featured centrally in the Bradford Commission’s (1996) Report on the 1995 disturbances in Manningham. The third theme of this chapter concerns the views about political authorities and how they responded to the riots. Many explanations of riots highlight at some level the political marginalization of those involved in riots as a causal factor (Benyon, 1987; Lea and Young, 1982; Waddington, Jones and Critcher, 1989). Furthermore, the apparent inadequacy of local political institutions and representation was identified by some of the post-riot debates after the events of 2001 (Cantle, 2001; Ouseley, 2001).


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Following this, we examine views about the media and how they reported the riots. This was a much less frequently commented upon topic after the riots, but it is one about which many of our interviewees have strong views. Whilst there have been a few studies of media bias in the reporting of riots during the 1980s in Britain (for example, Joshua and Wallace, 1983: 92–119; Murdoch, 1984), these have primarily concentrated on the content of media reports rather than the views of the communities concerned about how they felt about the reporting of riots that occurred in their city. ‘Bradistan’: Comparisons with Oldham and Burnley As the riot in Bradford was the last of the wave of collective violence that also involved other northern towns, we asked our interviewees specifically if they felt that there were any similarities or connections between them. One important theme here was the recognition that the situation in Oldham involved long-term issues of racism in the town, whereas in Bradford the riot was perceived as being more directly provoked by the far right. However, the far right were seen as much stronger and provocative in their campaigning in Oldham and Burnley than in Bradford. In this sense our interviewees had a much more positive image of Bradford as a less racist and better integrated locality than Oldham or Burnley. In this way, our interviewees fundamentally disagreed with the findings of the reports published after the riots (for example, Ouseley, 2001) which highlighted segregation in Bradford as a major problem. Central to these kinds of perspective amongst our interviewees was the role of the far right, as well as the geographical proximity of the localities where the riots took place: … if we look at the areas where the riots occurred, they are all in close proximity of the northern headquarters of the BNP and they have the largest majority of the British National Party, NFs in the north of England … Now Burnley is not far from there … Then you have got Oldham which is just the other side of the M66 from there, it only takes 25 or 30 minutes to get there from there. Blackburn is also another twenty minutes or so and Bradford is not too far (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser).

Social conditions in Oldham in particular were seen as being much worse than in Bradford in the view of many of our interviewees. People highlighted housing and unemployment, despite the improving levels of educational attainment amongst Pakistani Muslims in places such as Oldham (Dale et al., 2002). However, these issues entailed not just material economic conditions but longer term relationships between the community and the police, as well as high levels of racial harassment: … My God, I don’t know how people can live there, places like Burnley … talk about prehistoric. The sub-standard housing that these people live in and overcrowding, it is really bad. And on top of that, the crime and the drugs … And it did not start in Bradford, did it? It started in Oldham. Oldham has been suffering for years from some of these problems. I am not surprised it started in Oldham to be honest (Abid Aslam, 33, health advisor).

‘Take Me to Your Leader’


There is mass unemployment in Oldham and so the youths don’t have much to do, and there is also a very sharp interface between the police force and the youth ... But also in the area where I actually lived was Glodick, I think there are approximately 500 graduates who live there of Asian descent and only 15 of them have jobs from the figures that have been quoted to me, so there are a lot of people going around with no job to go to (Ali Murad, 32, professional). I think with the other places [there were a] lot of incidents to do with racial hatred over a long period of time within the communities where they were living. Whereas in Bradford they didn’t really have that, it was to do with the relationship with the police rather than across the communities ... (Noor Khan, 46, female professional).

As a result, some saw this as extending into important differences in the reasons for the violence in Oldham and Burnley as compared to Bradford. The events in Oldham and Burnley were seen by some of our interviewees partly in terms of an inter-racial conflict, which were then exacerbated in the short run by the activities of the far right. In contrast, the violence in Bradford was seen as directed against the neo-fascists and the police: Well Oldham was different because you have got a very divided community there with the British National Party very much in the forefront. The interesting thing in the Oldham situation is between two resident communities. Whereas the Bradford riot was not one community against another one, it was more against the BNP and then the police (Mushir Choudhary, 46, male community development worker). … I was working here one day and there was a wedding and there was a young man from Oldham who was here. It was just a little while after the riots and I was talking to him and he was saying that we should have nothing to complain about in Bradford ... I asked him what he meant and he told me about the really bad racism problem in Oldham, and Bradford has not had that type of thing, not in Manningham anyway. From what he was telling me he was saying that women had been attacked and verbally and physically abused, and I think what triggered things off in Oldham was the response of the police when something happened. They were not bothering to turn up or turning up hours later when someone had been attacked. I think the people were generally fed up of the situation and that is understandable. Whereas in Manningham we have not had that kind of violence against people because if that had have happened, it would have kicked off a long time ago (Zara Hussain, 29, student).

The widespread view was that what happened in Bradford was partly in reaction to what had happened previously in Oldham and Burnley. In this very limited and descriptive sense, our interview data echoes the arguments of those such as Smelser (1962) who suggest that riots may precipitate further riots by confirming people’s views about the situation, in this case the threat from the far right. However, our interviews suggested that ‘solidarity’ between communities was the mechanism involved rather than simply the confirmation of pre-existing beliefs about the far right:


Riotous Citizens With regards to the Bradford riots … I honestly think it was partly in relation to what happened in Oldham. I think once they saw what had happened there, they saw a spark of solidarity of that community there and the community here. Not necessarily for legitimate reasons apart from the fact that they were Muslim brothers or which ever you want to look at it (Ali Murad, 32, professional).

Another theme was the prominence of Bradford as Bradistan, as the national centre of British Pakistani culture and politics. This led to Bradford being targeted for the demonstration by the neo-fascists in the first place. However, some younger men saw the outcome of the riot in more positive terms, as the ‘honour’ of the British Pakistani community was being upheld by the young men of Bradistan, after the events in Bradford and Oldham: I think the people of Bradford stuck up for themselves, stood up and you know, went for it really. Coz people in Oldham, right, I don’t know the facts but I am just telling you what I think and what I know. You know maybe they are just rumours on the street, I don’t know, but what we heard was people in Oldham and where else was it? Burnley … Yeah, places like that people, the Asian people, were beaten up. They lost the battle. But like people in Bradford won the war … YH: So you won the war against the BNP? Yeah, that is the way people see it. That is the way I see it as well, yeah, more or less. YH: And Oldham lost the battle? Yeah, because Oldham, Burnley or wherever, wherever the NF went, they went and did the damage and came back and you know the NF were let’s say victorious. But when they come in Bradford they couldn’t get nowhere. They did try and basically they went, so they lost. YH: But why Bradford? Why not other areas? Because Bradford is like … you know that Bradford has got the name of Bradistan. You have probably heard that, right? Bradistan, like in Pakistan. Like heart of all Pakistani people. So I think that is why they look at Bradford as if in, you get the main town and then it is like no other town is going to be a problem … The talk on the street is, you know, we kicked their backsides (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager)

Comparisons Between 1995 and 2001 We saw in the previous section where some young men saw Bradford’s reputation as Bradistan being upheld by the riots. This is related to the recent history of the city where it has seen a number of violent disturbances involving South Asian, principally Pakistani, men since the 1970s. The most recent of these was in 1995 (Bradford Commission, 1996), and we asked specifically what they could recall about them, and the differences between 1995 and 2001. What is perhaps most striking about this

‘Take Me to Your Leader’


issue is the unanimity across all sections of those that we interviewed that the riots of 1995 were provoked by police actions, and that these actions by the police were clearly seen as wrong: I remember the last riots, on Oak Lane, that was to do with some police officers going round to arrest a young lad and ended up pushing around the sister and the family, which were I think that was justified, yeah (Zahida Ali, 31, support worker). As far as I can recall, it was about how the police ran through an Asian house and a group of people went up to the police station who were not happy about this and with the response they received from the police; it was very much a case of an Asian community turning against the police. This time it was very much a racist issue and because of what had been happening in Oldham and Burnley (Khalid Hussain, 30, health and social care officer).

Furthermore, in what expresses a significant difference between the reactions to the riots in 1995 compared to 2001, those community leaders who were critical of the 2001 rioters had a very different view of the 1995 events. They saw them as in some way legitimate or at least understandable, as they recognized that the police were at fault: ’95, the attitude was totally different. Even elders justified what youngsters had done. And in 1995 there were genuine grievances, you know. An incident had took place only a few hundred yards from here just at the back of this building, it was Berry Street. And I don’t know what was right or what was wrong but the rumours were that a police officer had touched an Asian woman or pushed her, because it is not acceptable in Pakistani culture, anyway because of that there was anger and people genuinely felt deep anger. And because of that those youngsters who were involved in that received the wide support from the communities, elders and youngsters and everybody (Javed Seth, 47, magistrate and member of police liaison committee).

‘We Classed as Drug Dealers’: Police–Community Relations The issue of the relationship between ethnic minority communities and the police has been the focus of much critical academic analysis, both generally with respect to policing and more specifically with respect to the context of previous urban riots (for example, Benyon, 1984; Benyon and Solomos, 1987; Cowell, Jones and Young, 1982; Keith, 1993). Furthermore, this was a central issue in the 1995 riots, and featured prominently in the analysis and recommendations of the Bradford Commission Report (Bradford Commission, 1996). Whilst there were perceptions that the relationship between the police and the Pakistani community of Bradford had improved since 1995, we found considerable evidence of continued suspicion, with unsubstantiated suspicions among a few younger respondents of police corruption due to their failure to deal with major crime. In addition, there were suggestions that the riot of 2001 had been provoked by the police:


Riotous Citizens I think there was a positive change after the first riot. But no difference after the second one. Because the first riot was to the advantage of the youths. Because of the attitudes, there were some negative attitudes within the police force that came to light and had to be changed, and I think the police do have some resentment towards that. But as far as I am concerned the police force instigated these riots … The youths don’t trust the police force. I mean half of the Pakistani community think that the police force are on the take. Because drug crimes are not being targeted, whereas people with motor offences are being punished heavily. Burglaries are not followed up. How often do you hear of a drug dealer that is been taken down? How often do you hear of people that have been ringing cars, been caught? It doesn’t happen (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser). Well, the thing is just recently there have been so many police around and it is making you think why is there suddenly police on the streets? … I mean, everyone knows the drug dealers hang around the park areas and they have cleared that area. And they have known for years exactly where the drug dealers are and they have let them get away with doing their business and what have you. But there has been a real crackdown on it. I don’t know whether somebody new has come in and he has ordered that they get these lads arrested and they get them off the streets, I don’t know (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer).

The principal themes of our respondents’ views about policing are what they defined as police harassment, poor responses by the police to reports of crimes and the feeling that the police were not part of their community. These are themes and issues shared with many of the analyses of the context of the riots of the 1980s (for example, Keith, 1993). Many recounted their own personal experiences, or those of close friends and family, of what they would see as routine police harassment of young Pakistani men. Underlying all of these experiences, of course, is the wider national criminalization of younger South Asian men that has proceeded apace since the 1980s (Alexander, 2000b; 2004; Kalra, 2003). The general level of police harassment ranges from the perception of the poor quality or unfriendliness of everyday interaction with the police, through verbal abuse, to common assault: I think a lot of people are scared of the police and I think the police can be very aggressive towards Asians. We have just heard things from the guys in the street and the incidents they have. Because I know a lot of the people that live in my street, we know each other and from what they have said about the police. Sometimes when you are only asking them something they can be pretty sarcastic with you, and instead of giving you a straightforward answer they say it in a very weird manner. You just wouldn’t talk to someone like that. Just because they are police, they think they can talk to you like that. That is why I think a lot of people hate the police because they do not understand, they don’t listen (Shabnam Ishaq, 21, clerical worker). … like my brother was once being watched. He was in a car with his friends and he was being watched closely by the police to see what they were up to at that time. Like I said, a stereotyped group was presented, like if it is a group of lads in a car the police automatically think they are going to be up to something. He felt watched. He came home and said to me do you know today that the police were watching my friends and me. In

‘Take Me to Your Leader’


the sense like a dirty look, as if to say that we are keeping an eye of you. So a stereotype was being presented (Serena Khan, 19, student). Wankers. Yeah seriously. There is nothing there between Asians and the police, there is a big gap. The police don’t work for us. The police work to get us locked up, to get rid of us. Yeah of course, stop and searching in the park. They weren’t stopping any white people, only Asians. Yeah we classed as drug dealers. I got stopped four times in one day to empty my pockets. Why me? Because of the way I am dressed or the colour of my skin or my looks? You tell me (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed). The police came about ten years ago to search our house. My son’s friend had been involved in a fight and my son had been with him. They didn’t find anything and they were very rude to me about my son. There was another incident when the police came, it was when my son had ordered and bought a car from Japan. I had re-mortgaged the house to help him pay for the car because he could not afford it. I think they thought he had stolen it. They were very abusive and rude also. My son said I should not have let them in without seeing a search warrant first. I had got so mad about their behaviour that I swore at them. My son rang and complained to the police about the conduct of the officers. He asked them why I had been treated in this manner when I had a heart problem and diabetes. I think the police are very rude to the Asian people (Anwar Baig, 51, female). Just the other day, actually, this guy was saying how this police officer came over and this guy does Sport Play Scheme thing for the kids and so he was wearing sports clothes, trainers and carrying a sports bag, and the police shouted over to him, but he didn’t think they meant him because he hadn’t done anything wrong. So he continued walking and they kept shouting over, so he turned around and they said ‘Don’t look so innocent’ and they asked what he had in the bag and he said ‘Drugs, what do you think’. So they searched him and they saw he had nothing in the bag, but he said that they were being really cheeky so he took their number and said he was going to complain about them (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19). My friend just the other night was telling me and he was really angry because he had been stopped and searched by the police as he was walking home, they asked for his name and his home telephone number, and they rang his house to check that he was who he said he was and he was just walking down the road about 10pm at night (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19). Some officers are alright people, but some officers we get a lot of stick from them. Like when we get arrested we get a lot of stick. I know one guy from my area, they arrested him because his brother was being arrested in the street, so this guy came out and asked what was happening and the copper started pushing him about and so he got aggressive. And then about four or five coppers, big ones, and he was only a short lad, they got him in a police car and they were twisting his arm, he was crying and asking him to let him go. And then everyone came out of the mosque and asked the police what they were doing and said they were not allowed to do that to him, and now they are pressing charges on the coppers (Lukman Afzal, 17, on government training scheme).

What is striking about these accounts is that the grievances about the police were spread across male and female interviewees, young and old. On this issue at least we can conclude that there is a community-wide sense of dissatisfaction with the police.


Riotous Citizens

The second principal theme in many of our interviews relates to the perceived poor quality of service from the police. This entailed both poor responses to reported crimes, as well as criticism of the policing of drug dealing and other activities in the area of Manningham: I have had an incident where I didn’t feel as if they acted quickly enough. My daughter was playing out and there was a man who lived opposite who stood at the window and exposed himself to her. We phoned the police at 12 noon and then at 2pm and then at 5pm; eventually my husband said if you don’t come we will come down to the station and speak to you there. Eventually at 8pm they came. So it took them eight hours to come out. The police said they couldn’t really do anything and this was about a man who could be harming children (Henna Majid, 35, playgroup worker). I have to say I am quite sceptical about the police because they know people are openly dealing drugs on Lumb Lane and they are just ignoring it. I know they call it containment, don’t they? But you think, hang on a minute, we have to live here, we are citizens just as much as everybody else is. We might not have as much money as the people who live in the suburbs, but what they are basically trying to do is keep all the trouble causers and the drugs all in one area. And when you think about it, I suppose it is logical, but for the people who actually live there, that is not right. We pay taxes just like everyone else. It is not right and the police are not treating us with the equal respect that we deserve (Zara Hussain, 29, student).

Community Leaders Many of those whom we interviewed were highly critical of community leaders. The only real exceptions to this were those who regarded themselves as community leaders! Part of this problem was seen to be something that is widespread in British society – a general mistrust of elected politicians. Another part of the problem might be seen as more specific to how a system of political patronage is seen to have grown up whereby ‘community leaders’ are appointed to public bodies that are supposedly representative of different ethnic communities. This is the down-side of multiculturalism. Our view is that this is not inherent in multiculturalism as a set of ideas, but rather reflects the lack of attention given within multiculturalist arguments to questions of political representation at the level of local communities. Rather the problem is a product of bureaucratic forms of ethnic managerialism (Law, 1999). The report of the Bradford Commission into the 1995 disorders in the city highlighted the issue of the authorities’ over-reliance upon older male community leaders who were not necessarily seen as legitimate by the younger members of the community. Similar questions were raised in some of the reports on community cohesion that examined the situations in Oldham and Burnley (Cantle, 2001; Ritchie, 2001). These are effectively colonial forms of governance of local communities. This whole approach of managing local politics through community leaders is thoroughly racialized, and systematically conflates religious, cultural and political leadership. From our perspective it reifies what is in reality an imaginary community, with its own internal heterogeneity and dynamics (Keith, 1993: 181–2). As Khalid Hussain told us, it is only ethnic minorities who have community leaders who are

‘Take Me to Your Leader’


also in leading positions within religious or cultural organizations, while white people do not: Partly the problem that we are having in this society is that white mainstream organizations will run to what they see as community leaders. But if you say to an English person ‘Who is your community leader?’ they are not going to tell you the Bishop of Bradford or the Lord Mayor or the leader of the council. So why should they assume the Council for the Mosques should represent the whole of the Muslim population in Bradford, or various people, who I won’t mention, because they happen to hold particular seats their view is the correct one? There are people on Police Ethnic Minority Liaison Committees and particular JPs or whatever, and because of certain seats that they hold or because they chair these meetings, the council or the police will go to these people for advice and I think that is where the fault lies … (Khalid Hussain, 30, health and social care officer).

More generally, the individuals that people thought of as community leaders lacked legitimacy in a number of respects. In some instances they were the leaders of organizations that they had created, but which people felt had limited wider support. They were often seen as not representing women’s interests in particular: Maybe people who are councillors or quite high up in the mosque or someone who is quite well educated, business men who want to go into politics, they are the kind of community leaders. So they have their own agendas. I don’t think they represent the views of the majority of the community in Bradford, especially us Asians and especially the women. We don’t seem to get a say in anything (Zara Hussain, 29, student). … before the elections they are going to everyone’s doors being all friendly and that and then once the elections [are] done, once they have got what they want, you won’t see them. I think they do everything for their own benefit, really. They don’t really do nothing. Right, Bradford. What have we got new in Bradford? This place, Carlisle Business Centre, what else have we got? That’s it, in the last ten years or so I can’t think of anything that has happened and how many politicians, local councillors have we had and what have they done? (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

When asked about how people become community leaders, the perception of divisions between generations came to the fore for some of the younger interviewees. More generally, for some this raised serious questions about the mechanism of representation. That is, how particular individuals come to be seen as ‘community leaders’, and more practically the means by which individuals were chosen to sit on various local consultative committees. This whole process was seen as wholly undemocratic, unrepresentative and verging on corruption: Because of who chooses them, the elders. The youngsters don’t vote. I don’t think you will ever find a youngster going to a polling station and saying I want to vote for x or y … or whoever. They just can’t relate to them. They don’t see themselves as those people. They are not allowed to represent themselves but they don’t have anyone to represent them at all, so why should they go and vote (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser).


Riotous Citizens If you look at 99 per cent of the cases where the decision making bodies are, they pick and choose people, anyone who they will think is not a threat to them they will bring into their board. That is what is happening and the rest of the community don’t get a say, the mosques are not involved and the community centres are not involved. For example, the Ethnic Minority Police Liaison Committee, I was involved with that some time ago. If you look at the people who are on that committee, none of them represent the community. They pick and choose, because someone already on the board proposes to bring a new member and it is done that way (Gafoor Abdul, 33, project co-ordinator).

Much of the previous discussion of the lack of legitimacy of community leaders has focused upon their failure to represent the views and interests of the younger generation. Often they are presented in previous accounts of these issues as expressions of political movements from South Asia or as representatives of biradari networks (Bradford Commission, 1996). This would seem to imply that they do effectively represent the older generation of men in some way. However, we did not find this to be the case. Older men were just as critical of community leaders as were the younger generation. Support for them seemed to be largely passive and simply based on the ethnicity of the candidate, rather than active engagement in South Asian politics or biradari networks: … the real truth is that they are not doing a good job; they are just bothered about themselves. Nobody has ever paid us any attention. At the last local elections, I attended a meeting where there were a few Asian councillors present and I asked them that although they come every four years to canvass for votes, what have they ever done for our community. In past years when we had a problem and there were only white councillors, we used to arrange a time when they could call at our homes and discuss the problem. They would then deal with the problem and let us know of the outcome. However, with the Asian councillors, it takes six people who will pass the message on that we have a problem and even then the problem is not dealt with (Quadar Iqbal, 52, factory worker/taxi driver and Irshad Ismail, 66, retired factory worker, translated from Punjabi). I know of them but I have never had any dealings with them. When it comes to canvassing for votes, they appear at my door usually with a friend of mine. The friend then tries to convince me to give my vote to the person who is accompanying him. I usually give my vote to a Pakistani because I feel it will be easier to deal with him, if I ever need to contact him (Ramzan Latif, 64, retired shop keeper, translated from Punjabi).

Consequently, there was recognition that there was dissatisfaction with community leaders from both young and older generations within the community. In contrast to this widespread dissatisfaction with community leaders and how they attain their positions of influence, the only ones who defended the community leaders were those who would describe themselves or be seen by others as community leaders: I speak for the people. I speak for people. I know what they feel, what they think. I don’t speak for all the people but I know that there are many, many people that when I say something they ‘Yes, you are right’. On the other hand there are people who have gone to media saying, ‘Who is he?’ ‘Why are you interviewing him?’ And they have said, ‘Who are you to dictate us?’ … So, I think I usually represent a wide number of people when I say certain things (Javed Seth, 47, magistrate and member of police liaison committee).

‘Take Me to Your Leader’


The Role of the Media The role of the media in the sensitization of issues prior to collective protests such as riots has been highlighted in a range of literature (for example, Keith, 1993; Waddington, 2007). Few studies have directly addressed the issue of the media reporting of riots themselves (for example, Joshua and Wallace, 1983: 92– 119; Murdoch, 1984). Newspapers in particular have been important sources of information for both historical and sociological studies of riots, as they have been for the work reported in this book. More generally, there has been a range of work completed on the representation of race in the news, as well as more specifically on the representation of Muslims in recent years (Poole and Richardson, 2006). However, in this section we examine the communities’ views about how the media reported the riot in Bradford. This includes not only their accounts of what they read and saw in various media outlets, but also in a few cases their own experiences of dealing with media professionals who were reporting on the riots. These indicated a selectivity by journalists in the gathering of information as the events unfolded, as Imran Ismail recalled: I was speaking to someone from The Guardian actually, but they wouldn’t listen to what I had to say. They were more interested in gangs of Asian youths bricking the police, you know, it wasn’t like ‘What caused it?’ They just wasn’t interested if anyone was saying that, but if someone said ‘Oh we are going to get the coppers’ they would go straight over to them and start taking it all down (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser).

Others were critical of what they saw as the bias of the mainstream media, both national and local. There were a number of aspects to the bias that they perceived in the media coverage. For example, some felt that the role of the far right in provoking the riots in the first instance was lost, as the media moved on to examine what they had defined was the deeper story about the Pakistani community in Bradford: The media only concentrated on the National Front for a while and then all of a sudden moved on to the Asian society and started presenting Bradford in a negative way. I didn’t think any positive thoughts were made at all (Serena Khan, 19, student). But it didn’t mention the NF, did it? Asian youth against the police, that’s what it was all saying. It didn’t say Asian youth against the National Front. It was Asian youth against the police, as far as I can remember that’s all I read. Asian youth attack police, but what happened to Asian youth stand up for themselves against National Front. That could have been the title (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

Whilst the media failed to focus upon the role of the far right in provoking the riots in the first place from the perspective of some, others felt that the media also failed to give sufficient attention to the later disturbances in Ravenscliffe that involved white people. In their view, the media left people with the impression that only Asians were involved:


Riotous Citizens I feel with the riots up at the white estate, Ravenscliffe, that didn’t get the big media coverage. TV cameras didn’t cover the riots between the whites and the police officers, you didn’t see that (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer). They didn’t actually show any whites rioting. There were riots in Ravenscliffe, I think they brought a few pictures of some white lads and after that you never saw them again. I think four photographs came up of white lads and they were never seen again in the Telegraph and Argus. They were trying to say we are not racist, but behind it all they were playing mind games with them, being clever (Ibrar Khan, 18, student).

More generally, there was scepticism about the media reporting of the riots and of Bradford in particular. Many of those whom we interviewed expressed nothing but critical views about the mainstream media. They were seen as never providing any positive news about the Asian community, nor even attempting to present their views and only focusing on the negative features. It is interesting to note how these views again encompass the reactions of both younger and older respondents: The media is full of shit, isn’t it? They just send bad vibes. They have never got anything good to say about us. Have you ever read anything good about Asian people in the media? In the tabloids? … The media never says anything positive about Asian people (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed). I thought the community view and concerns did not come out in the newspaper articles. The only thing that seemed to be noticeable was the tremendous gap between young and old, and young people losing respect for the elder leaders. And my feeling is if that is the case, then why all of a sudden people said enough is enough, let’s have a riot, you know those issues have been around for years … But to say the riots were a direct result of that, I think they are missing the point. So I think once again the media coverage has not done justice to the situation or any good to Bradford, and certainly not done any good to the image of minorities (Mushir Choudhary, 46, male community development worker). … the English newspapers attacked us by saying that it was only the Asian youths who were responsible for the rioting … they wrote as if they wanted to incite hate and prejudice against Asians. I suppose we have to put up with it because if part of a community does something wrong, the majority have to pay for it (Quadar Iqbal, 52, factory worker/taxi driver and Irshad Ismail, 66, retired factory worker).

The only positive accounts of the mainstream media reporting of the riots came from those community leaders who had been extensively interviewed by and reported in the media themselves. For example, Javed Seth dismissed what he saw as the usually biased anti-Asian reporting of the British media as follows: Well, unfortunately, media always has biased view when it comes to Asians or especially when it comes to Pakistani, err Muslims, you know. But this time I think they had balanced view … Because I can give you my example and I have given more than 400 interviews so far, more than 400, I have lost count now. And my colleagues know because I didn’t work in this office for a few days because they were all here, you know, all the time. What I would have said they would have quoted that, they have not altered anything in any sense what I said. So, also some editorials by the local press and some reports, they were

‘Take Me to Your Leader’


very balanced reports. But there is always some biased view, you know (Javed Seth, 47, magistrate and member of police liaison committee).

There is of course a widely consumed South Asian media that also reported on the riots. In relation to the South Asian media, our interviewees were more divided in their views. Some of them felt that the reporting in this case was generally more ‘factual’, often drawing a clear distinction between the way the riots were reported in the ethnic minority media and the mainstream white-dominated media: I didn’t think they were biased. I think they reported what they saw. They reported that the NF came over and that the Asian community reacted to it. I mean they did not just say Asian, there were white people there but the majority that were reported were Asian because it was the Manningham area that it started from. They just reported what they saw. Nothing biased, like so and so did this because they were Asian and so and so did this because they were white. They just reported what they saw (Serena Khan, 19, student). Papers like Jang, definitely written by the Asian community for the Asian community and from the perspective that they have and the readership that they target. I think their reporting was not at all sensational, it was more just the facts (Khalid Hussain, 30, health and social care officer).

However, others felt that the South Asian media also reported the riots in a sensationalized way. In particular, professional middle class people tended to see the reporting by the ethnic minority press in this way: I think they were fairly sensational to begin with as well, and it was only with the interviews later on that they might have been a slightly alternative view, but I don’t think there was anything in there either that wasn’t just juicy copy (Noor Khan, 46, female professional). So I think the Asian newspapers had a field day to be honest with you. Maybe they were more interested in selling newspapers than telling the truth. So I think they exploited the situation to a certain extent as well. They told some truths but they mixed it with a lot of speculation and exaggeration (Ali Murad, 32, male professional).

Conclusions In this chapter we have examined the views towards the earlier riots in Oldham and Burnley, as well as the 1995 riot in Bradford. We have seen how they distinguished between Bradford and especially Oldham in terms of both their perception of the social conditions and the relationships between white people and South Asian Muslims. Oldham in particular was seen as having worse social conditions and poorer relationships between different ethnic communities. The links between the riots were therefore multifarious. They entailed a sense of solidarity with people like themselves in Oldham and Burnley in resisting the threat from the far right, as well as a desire to ‘defend Bradford’. In comparison to 2001, the riot in Bradford in 1995 was seen quite differently as being directly provoked by police action. Concerns about the relationship between the police and the community revolved around both the apparently routine harassment of young South Asian men, and the


Riotous Citizens

generally poor level of service to the whole community from the police. These concerns were shared by men and women, young and old. There was simply widespread community dissatisfaction with the police rooted in the everyday experiences of themselves, their friends and their families. However, as we have seen in the earlier chapters, these were not seen as the immediate causes of the riots; that lay with the mobilization of the far right. The role of community leaders was also highly controversial. Generally people felt that such leaders were an unrepresentative self-perpetuating elite. In particular it was felt that only ethnic minority communities had to have ‘community leaders’, with state institutions managing local areas in a colonial manner, selecting individuals for construction into leaders that they could work with, giving the impression of representation and consultation. Whilst others have pointed this out, it has often been to draw attention to divisions within ethnic minority communities, especially in terms of gender and generation, where an older male elite is unrepresentative of the diversity of the community. However, we found that dissatisfaction with community leaders cut across gender and generation. We suspect that in the past no one had bothered to ask older South Asian men what they thought about ‘their’ community leaders. Finally, we have discussed their views of the media reporting of the riots. Here people felt that the mainstream media were highly selective in their reporting, focusing on the violence towards the police and ignoring the role of the far right in instigating the riots. In contrast, the ethnic minority media were seen as ‘more factual’ in their reporting. Our aim here was not to come to some assessment as to the degree of ‘objectivity’ of the media reports, but rather to examine the views of those who were the subjects of that reporting.

Chapter 6

‘Outsiders in Our Own Country’: The Interpersonal Consequences of Rioting Introduction The consequences of the riots for the positioning of British Pakistanis within wider British society is something that has been commented upon in rather broad terms or taken as part of the context for the discussion of other issues (for example, Abbas, 2005; Din, 2006; Goodey, 2001). If the last chapter was concerned with relationships with and experiences of dominant social and political institutions such as the police and the media, this chapter might be seen as more concerned with interpersonal and cultural issues that may have been affected by the events of the spring and summer of 2001. Somewhat surprisingly in our view, previous studies of comparable riots, such as those in the UK in the 1980s, have largely overlooked the impact of the riots upon the communities from which the rioters came. Certainly the image portrayed is often one of racial or ethnic solidarity in the post-riot situation (for example, Gilroy, 2002). However, others, such as Scarman (1982), do suggest a diversity of responses, although on the basis of rather flimsy evidence. Clearly one key international event that occurred subsequent to the riots that also affected these issues was the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. Consequently, the riots of 2001 and their effects at a number of levels cannot be understood in isolation from this. The general feeling amongst our interviewees after the riots was one of being excluded even more from British society. This was especially evident amongst those second-generation respondents who were born in the UK. These feelings reflect the broader criminalization of the British South Asian Muslims in sections of the media and some politicians (Alexander, 2000b; 2004). However, these effects are difficult to attribute to either the riots or the 9/11 attacks, so they should be seen as a combined effect: We feel like outsiders in our own country … Because before I was part of a community, whether there was integration or not that is completely irrelevant. I was part of a community, a British community in England. Now I am part of a criminal element in Bradford (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser).

Here we want to focus upon these issues in some detail. In particular we shall examine the following aspects: the effects of the riots on the Pakistani community in Bradford, their impact on people’s relationships with the white community and our interviewees’ experiences of racism and Islamophobia.


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Since the 9/11 attacks on New York and other global political events, Muslim women in particular have become increasingly visible as members of a feared and vilified minority (Abbas, 2005; Kundnani, 2007; Shain, 2003). Official reports of racist incidents have increased significantly since 1999/2000, when 2417 individuals were reported to the police for racist incidents; by 2004/2005 this had grown to 5788, an increase of over 100 per cent. The year 2004/2005 was the first year that national level data on religiously aggravated crime was recorded, and 67 per cent of this was directed at Muslims (Crown Prosecution Service, 2005). These figures are mirrored in the survey data on people’s perceptions of racism and religious prejudice in Britain. This shows that since 2000, most people think that there is now more racial prejudice than in the past, and that South Asian people and Muslims are the main targets of this. Muslim women reported the highest levels of perception of religious prejudice, and people of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin felt that it had increased the most. In the same survey in 2005 over 90 per cent of all respondents felt that religious prejudice against Muslims had increased. Muslims and Sikhs were twice as likely as other religious groups to have reported discrimination on the basis of religion by a government organization, and Muslims were five times more likely to have reported discrimination in employment on the basis of religion (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2006). Although such figures should not be treated as definitive, due to problems in recording these types of incident (Hesse et al., 1992; Modood et al., 1997: 262–4), the trend that they depict is unequivocal. Furthermore, survey evidence has shown how the level of harassment is lower in those geographical areas where there is a higher percentage of ethnic minority residents (Modood et al., 1997: 271). This finding is also reflected in the experiences of Islamophobia and racial harassment reported to us by some of our interviewees. Effects on the Pakistani Community in Bradford When people talked to us about the effects of the riots on the Pakistani community in Bradford, it was particularly apparent that it was an ‘imaginary community’ (Anderson, 2006) that they were invoking. They had a clear image in their minds as to who this included and excluded; however, as will become apparent in the discussions below, this is by no means a homogenous community. It is a community of different perspectives on the riots of 2001 and, as already established in previous chapters, these perspectives are sometimes related to wider social divisions, especially class, gender and generation, and at other times related to political differences. Some felt that the riots had divided the Pakistani community in Bradford. These divisions revolved around business interests and the honour of the community on the one hand, and the views of the families of those arrested for their activities during the riots on the other. Indeed some felt that the diversity of views and reactions amongst the community were exactly what should be expected. It is just that the riots had brought these to the surface: Certainly I think there are a whole range of views within the Pakistani community about the riots. Some say it is to do with institutions, some blame the young people, some feel

‘Outsiders in Our Own Country’


that the whole thing could have been prevented and some feel that the whole thing was inevitable. So there are very diverse views about it. And I think to me that is how it should be because that is what it is like living in a community. Why should we expect a section of the community to respond and behave in a certain way or have one view on any issue? I mean, the interesting thing was if you look at the riot you had the Asian trademark, we published an apology immediately after the riot, frightened by the fact that the riots would cause a backlash against Asian businesses and in some ways they tried to appease their white customers (Mushir Choudhary, 46, male community development worker).

One important division that had emerged within the Pakistani community was around the prosecution of the rioters. To some extent this reflected the diversity of views about the causes and legitimacy of the riots in the first place. However, as the sentencing of those convicted proceeded, the disagreements came to the surface in an even more pronounced and political way. For example, as Alisah Khaleeq argued: … now I think with this new Fair Justice Group, as that comes to the surface, people are going to think well no your sons or your brothers deserve it because look at what they did last year, because of them Bradford has lost out. Our businesses have lost out so you will find that a lot of people are annoyed that these people are making these complaints. But when you listen to those mums and sisters talking about it, you get a different perspective to the whole thing (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer).

A further important theme in some of their accounts was the economic impact of the riots on the community. The businesses highlighted here were not just those run by the Asian community, such as restaurants and taxis, but also issues such as university recruitment, as well as personal financial impacts such as blaming the riots for increased council tax bills and higher insurance premiums. Consequently, the riots became a reason cited for a whole range of economic complaints, their relation to which might in reality be quite tenuous. These tend to feature amongst the views of the older community members. This is perhaps not surprising as they are more likely to have experienced any putative economic changes directly: … there has been a lot of problems to Asian businesses because nobody will come and eat in the restaurants now. A lot of businesses have closed. The number of students wanting to come to Bradford University has dropped considerably. That has affected the businesses as well, because students use taxis and order food from take-aways (Quadar Iqbal, 52, factory worker/taxi driver and Irshad Ismail, 66, retired factory worker. Translated from Punjabi).

The Asian business community in Bradford made a very high profile effort to apologize to the city for the riots through an advertisement in the local press. However, some were very critical of this response. They essentially saw it as a case of the businessmen acting in their own class interests and distancing themselves from the wider community. In this sense, this perspective reflected a class division within the community, for example, between professionals in the public sector and the entrepreneurial middle class: They just want to keep their customers happy. They want to say ‘we are with you and we are not with this particular section of the community, we want to put some distance here,


Riotous Citizens we are not the same as them. We are upper and middle classes because we have got a bit of dosh, we drive a fast car and we own a restaurant, we are more civilized.’ That’s all that article was about. It was basically to appease the majority of the Bradford community who are white. Because the people of the white community were angry that it was Bradford again who were rioting. What have they done since apart from one or two conferences, why don’t these arseholes get together and put their money towards something productive? They have got restaurants and they are paying less than the minimum wage, how can these people stand up and say they are business leaders? On one hand they are trying to move into mainstream business society and demand the respect that mainstream businessmen get, and then on the other side they are paying their workers less than the minimum wage and are abusing and exploiting just like everyone else that does it to our community. I don’t have any sympathy for our businessmen (Abid Aslam, 33, health advisor). … we were picking up from the press that a lot of businesses were affected because of the riot. And of course that is inevitable, that is why these things should not happen because they have a huge impact on the community. And first of all the community who has suffered from that, the area where the riot happened, and that is what happened, a lot of businesses were not doing so well so they decided to either to pick cheap publicity or to probably improve opportunities for the businesses (Mehboob Akhtar, 37, community centre manager).

The impacts of the riots on the Pakistani community of Bradford can be principally seen as divisive. This contrasts with the rather romantic vision implied in some accounts of the impact of the 1980s riots on African-Caribbean communities. There it was suggested that there was a kind of community solidarity in response (for example, Gilroy, 2002). However, we have found a more fragmented response according to our interviewees’ accounts. These fragments are partly concerned with views about the legitimacy of rioting and the legitimacy of the sentencing of the rioters, but also the putative economic impacts of the riots. In relation to the economic impacts, class divisions came to the fore, with the entrepreneurial middle classes complaining most publicly and vocally about the effects of the riots. Impact on Relationships with the White Community Relationships with the white community were widely seen to have deteriorated since early July 2001. This was in contrast to how many felt that the situation had improved over a long period of time before the riots. This theme of improvement is one that national level attitude survey data would tend to support, with younger people apparently more tolerant of ethnic minorities, and general levels of tolerance improving over time. For example, between 1984 and 2000 the British Social Attitudes survey reported that the percentage of respondents reporting that they were a little or very prejudiced decreased from over 35 per cent to around 25 per cent, and the percentage saying that they were not prejudiced increased from 63 per cent to over 72 per cent (). In contrast to this, reports of racially motivated crime have apparently increased over time. For example, racist incidents in England and Wales increased between 1996/1997 and 2001/2002 by over 313 per cent from 13,151 to 54,370 (Crown Prosecution Service, 2005). However, reports of

‘Outsiders in Our Own Country’


racially motivated crime and harassment are notoriously difficult to interpret due to problems in the process of reporting and recording (Hesse et al., 1992). In addition, whilst people may express tolerance in public or in response to attitude surveys, privately or in certain social situations they continue to express racist views and behave in a racist manner (Picca and Feagin, 2007). We suspect something similar may be happening in the UK. Some of our interviewees’ experiences and views apparently confirmed this picture of supposed improvement, as they highlighted how since the 1960s the expression of racist views by the white community had declined. This implied that the relationship between the Pakistani community and the white community in Bradford had been improving prior to the riots: When my dad came in the 1960s … there probably was a lot a racism and I think then we went through a phase where it went very quite and people were discriminating or making comments, but a lot of white people I think were holding their feelings back for fear of being called a racist (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer). Well we were living down in Leeds and we had gone into an area where there were quite a lot of whites and they were quite racist. I remember our doors being kicked, our windows going through. I remember my Dad suffered a racial attack where my Dad was severely beaten up, we were only young but I can actually remember it. But that is the only one I can think of. Apart from that we went into like, you know, when certain areas and communities are segregated and we actually went into one where there were a lot of racists and stuff. You know a lot of white folk living there (Zahida Ali, 31, support worker).

However, the riots of 2001 were seen by some as a turning point, since when it has become more acceptable again to be racist in public spaces. However, this seems to have been a temporary phenomenon for some of our respondents. For yet others whom we interviewed, this new hostility was limited to whites who did not know Asian people, and they reported continued good relationships in public with their white neighbours: … the white community hate us with a vengeance now. My son said if he or his friends go out, white people look at them with hatred. I think it has settled down a bit. In hospital the nurses look at Asian patients with disdain (Anwar Baig, 51, female). I have got a white neighbour who is excellent, I could not live without her … my neighbour is a lovely person and we have lived together for 26 years and that is a long time. She is frightened to move on and she doesn’t think she will find another neighbour who she gets on so well with. We talk about issues together and the children’s needs and we sit and have a meal together, and to me this is friendship, this is openness and this is not segregation. Now there are more Asians where I live and we still get on (Kauser Habib, 47, domestic violence advisor, and member of police liaison committee). … we have nice neighbours, it has not affected our relationship with them, and they know we are not like the rioters. The rest of the white community has changed. Once they would have exchanged hellos but now some of them hate us and they turn away in disgust. That is no good if we are to live together as a community. If this kind of rioting continues,


Riotous Citizens nobody will respect who we are or our religion (Mariam Bibi, 55, housewife. Translated from Punjabi).

Others suggested that the changes had been more subtle, but still noticeable. Using Goffman’s and Picca and Feagin’s language of front regions and back regions (Goffman, 1959; Picca and Feagin, 2007: 4–8), these accounts suggest that something had changed with respect to the boundary between front region and back region racism. Here we want to suggest that, prior to the riots, white people may have been just polite in not expressing their racist views and intolerance of others. However, there is now the perception that the situation has changed and that more white people are prepared to give voice to their racism and intolerance, not just to Asians or Muslims but to all those who are perceived as racially or ethnically different and not belonging to Britain. As Gafoor Abdul and Alisah Khaleeq told us: The problem with white people is professionally they don’t tell you, the one thing the English community is good at is not showing how they feel … The white community is very subtle. It is hard to tell from appearances. But I think things have changed and I can imagine that they have because what will happen now, they will be blaming everybody because if you look back to 30 years ago we were all immigrants … (Gafoor Abdul, 33, project co-ordinator). But now since this second riot I think now, they are not really bothered because the way they see it, this is their country and if we are going to live here we have got to do it their way ... I think white people have just got to a point where they think, right, well, we have stayed quiet for far too long and that is it now (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, community development officer).

Another aspect of the relationships with white people was concerned with what might be called ‘critical mass’ (Hussain and Bagguley, 2007: 125). In those contexts where ethnic minority groups were a small minority of the population, then they are more likely to experience racism, but in situations where they constitute a higher percentage of the population, then racist behaviour towards them seems to be less likely to occur (Modood et al., 1997: 271). Some of those whom we interviewed expressed this kind of perspective: I think if you are in a working atmosphere where the majority of them are white people and there are only two Asians, they probably would degrade you and think you are Asian and this is what Asians do. Because it is the impression they get from the tabloid newspapers and from what people have said, they wouldn’t think of using their own brain (Shabnam Ishaq, 21, clerical worker).

Different institutional settings provide different levels of ‘integration’ in the sense of everyday interaction between different ethnic groups. Certain cultural affinities between some ethnic minority groups, such as the acceptability of alcohol consumption, facilitates some kinds of interaction and socializing between them and the white community, enabling them in the eyes of some to be more readily accepted by the white people that they encounter. This is also seen as a source of potential division amongst South Asian people, between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.

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Again these experiences and views challenge the simplistic conceptualizations of community cohesion and social interaction between ethnic groups. The following discussion in the focus group with young women illustrates how relationships with the community are contextual and vary according to gender and age. They saw the riots as being related to the male aggression of both white and South Asian men. Whilst at school, they may have had ethnically specific groups of friends, when in adulthood and employment they noted that there is more mixing. However, as they had become older, they found the culture of drinking alcohol had excluded them as Muslims: Male relations with white people are different to female. To be honest white and Asian males, because of the riots, are more aggressive but the females’ relationships are basically the same because we are not like that. Everyone is mixing a lot more these days. At school you maybe did stick to your own people because you can choose your friends at school, but when you go to work you have to get on with everyone and you do. In all the shops in town it is very mixed and people are getting on a lot more. At college I was doing an IT assignment and the teacher asked us to get into groups to work as teams. All the white students got together, all the Asian girls and then a group of Asian lads, and the teacher asked us to split back up and stop sticking to our own race and gender, and so they do try to get us to mix more. One example at our school, we were doing British politics and the teacher asked us to get into groups, one for Conservative and one for Labour. Now all the Asians put their hand up for Labour and all the white students put their hand up for Conservative and we had to do a debate, which we all found very funny. You usually get Sikh and Hindu siding more with white people. That is why white people are more acceptable to them because they hang out more with white people, they can drink and things like that. They are more prepared to fit in and we think people should accept us for who we are. White people see Islam as boring and restrictive and that we don’t have fun. When I was in lower school I went to a school where I was the only Asian in my class and that was fine, I got on very well with everyone and I had lots of friends, but when I went into sixth form, I felt pushed out more because all the white kids used to go to the pub at lunch time and their main social time involved going clubbing, so I definitely felt that I didn’t fit anymore. In sixth form there was a very obvious segregation of Asian and whites (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19).

A further major theme of people’s comments about their relationships with the white community was concerned with how far they were learning about South Asian cultural practices and in particular about Islam. This failure to fully understand and learn about a different culture was seen as the root of the negative stereotypes held by some white people of South Asian communities, and especially South Asian women. On this issue people felt strongly that the South Asian community, both those who had migrated to the UK and those who had been born here, had gone to considerable


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lengths and made considerable efforts to learn about the dominant white culture, but the white community had for the most part failed to learn about South Asian culture, despite developing a taste for South Asian food: Yeah they love eating Asian food. They love their curries. But eating food and dressing the way that we do is two different things, so if you had to ask a white woman to wear a hijab … she would say ‘I can’t do this, I can’t go dressed up in black all day’. They just don’t understand why a woman should cover her face up and man doesn’t have to. It is their views and how they think, it is just different to us … when white people do see us working they think shouldn’t you be at home cooking and cleaning, it is just the typical minded view that they have had since day one (Shabnam Ishaq, 21, clerical worker). … the white culture should be aware of the Asian culture. I mean the Asian culture has started to adapt to the white culture. It is give and take, they both need to learn about each other. It should not just be seen one way. I have been given that chance; like I said, when I was in school I was raised with white people, I was aware of their culture, they learnt a little bit about me. You can’t be ignorant towards one thing. You have got to learn to survive. People need to be more aware of the Asian culture and people are not doing that, they are sticking to themselves (Serena Khan, 19, student).

In these ways our interviewees experienced white society as to some degree closed to them, despite the ideology of liberal openness that predominates. These issues of integration and segregation are pursued in more detail below. Experiences of Racism and Islamophobia Experiences of racism and Islamophobia in public places in Bradford were believed to have increased since the riots. In relation to South Asian women, this has been conceptualized as ‘sexual othering’ (for example, Brah and Minhas, 1985; Connolly, 1998; Shain, 2003), where they are seen as either passive or ‘exotic’, ‘unknowable’ and ‘unpredictable’ by dominant white society. However, the evidence from our interviews suggests that South Asian women now experience this as simply racial or Islamophobic hostility, and as not so strongly gendered as previously suggested. The rise of Islamophobia in reaction to global political events, as well as domestic and local political campaigns, has focused attention more on women who are visibly Muslims, such as those who wear hijab or niqab. The decision of such women to continue to wear such clothing is of course an increasingly politicized choice (Afshar, Aitken and Franks, 2005; Hussain and Bagguley, 2007: 49–54; Werbner, 2005). Whilst it remains undoubtedly the case that Muslim women are more visible relative to men due to dress codes, we should not overlook the ways in which South Asian Muslim men are visible when they are wearing traditional forms of dress, and how this may make them targets of racism and Islamophobia. Examples of racism and Islamophobia in Bradford were directed at women because of how they were dressed. This was often in terms of the everyday interactions with white people in shops and other public spaces after the riot in Bradford. This further led some to police their own behaviour, such as not going out alone, as Shabnam Ishaq described to us:

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I didn’t tend to go out alone and I remember I went to town a few weeks after it had happened, people were just giving me mucky looks and I think that is sad because you can’t just judge by what people are wearing (Shabnam Ishaq, 21, clerical worker). After the riots when we went out shopping, the looks that we received and the treatment that we got in the shops in Bradford was awful. I felt that everyone’s eyes were looking at me because of my dress, if I wore a skirt and a T-shirt I think I would be more accepted. I felt really uncomfortable going into shops and it was like again blaming everyone … Everybody talking about the Pakistanis, they are the ones, and I think that is wrong because you cannot generalize (Kauser Habib, 47, domestic violence advisor, and member of police liaison committee).

Similarly young men reported anti-Muslim insults in the street after the riots and especially after the 9/11 attacks. They were particularly visible when visiting the mosque, when they wore more traditional forms of dress in public places which made them ‘visible Muslims’. These insults after 9/11 made explicit references to terrorism and the Taliban, or Osama Bin Laden: … people have shouted out ‘Taliban, Taliban’ you know, just because I have been to the mosque with a hat on and people look outside and think oh you know, they are wearing a mosque hat on Taliban, Taliban or you know. And generally I think all Muslims have been labelled, you know, as terrorists, whether it is one or two, we have all been labelled terrorists (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager).

However, several of those who we interviewed felt that experiences of racism and Islamophobia were more likely outside of Bradford. This reflects the view that not only is Bradford thought to be a more multicultural, better integrated and therefore a more tolerant place, but also because of the size of the South Asian communities there, white people have a better understanding and tolerance of South Asian people: … when you go out of Bradford, people don’t know you and they don’t know anything about your culture. Some people might laugh at you and think what is that what she is wearing on her head. They are not used to it and if people mixed in a little bit more they would get used to it. You see white people who live around this area know a little bit about our culture, but it is when you go out of Bradford, that is when you might get some abuse (Sadia Malik, 16, student). I personally once came back from London to Leeds on a train. And on that train it was full of Leeds supporters and this is true, as I was walking down the carriageway, they were obviously a bit drunk and they stopped my way. They wouldn’t move out of the way and obviously I wasn’t going to stand up to him and say move out of my way, cos there were so many of them plus they were a lot bigger. So he goes ‘Say please’ and I actually said please; now I will actually put my head down and say please five million times as long as he lets me pass, but he goes ‘Say please’ and so I said please, and there was another from behind saying ‘Look at you now’, like your are putting your head down (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar, 20, fast food restaurant manager). I live in Frizinghall and you can’t even go out of the house without being harassed and that is no joke. I went to the shops the other day and there was a gang of lads who were


Riotous Citizens saying things to me and throwing things at me. It is really bad (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre Focus Group, ages 16–19).

Experiences of Islamophobic behaviour, often in public places, increased even more after 9/11. We have noted already that young men, who were traditionally dressed for visits to the mosque, experienced anti-Muslim insults in the street. The wearing of a beard is also recognized by Islamophobes as a signifier of a man being a Muslim. The significance of such bodily signifiers of difference apparently increased after 9/11 as the following suggests. These accounts also illustrate the vulnerability of some men due to their occupations in late-night take-aways and as taxi drivers: When the riots happened I used to get racist abuse at work but I didn’t care, let them say what they want. And then September 11th happened, we had a lot of trouble at the shop, people were taking the mickey out of our boss because he has a beard. People were swearing at him and the shop window was broken (Lukman Afzal, 17, on government training scheme). One person once came out of a pub and said ‘Alright Bin Laden I am not getting in your car’. So I said, ‘I have put a bomb underneath your car’. So you just laugh it off that way really (Abu Zainab, 30, charity manager and part-time taxi driver).

In this section we have seen how experiences of Islamophobia and racism increased after the riots. They apparently increased even more after 9/11, with the ‘discourse of insults’ not only becoming more explicit, but expanding to include terrorism, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Whilst previous work has highlighted the visibility of Muslim women due to dress, the vulnerability of men is also apparent when they dress traditionally to visit the mosque or when they are working in risky occupations such as the catering industry and driving taxis. Whilst much of Bradford was seen as relatively ‘safe’ compared to other places, people still reported public racist and Islamophobic insults in the city. Perceptions of Integration and Segregation The issue of the segregation of ethnic groups became the dominant theme of the media, political and policy debates about the causes of the riots (Cantle, 2001; McGhee, 2005). This was one way of talking about the relationships between the Pakistani Muslim community and the dominant white community in Bradford, both before and after the riots. The issue of segregation not only came to dominate political discourse and policy analysis, it was also highlighted by the media with whole series of television documentaries devoted to the issue. Our interviewees were clear about the importance of integration, but they often questioned what this really meant and what was being required of them. There was a general feeling of unease at this point (in the summer of 2002), when the recommendations of the Cantle Report were being discussed, and it is important to remember this context when considering people’s views about these issues. The question of exactly what is meant by integration was often raised in interviews, especially in relation to the inability of anyone advocating it to define

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the ‘Britishness’ that people were being asked to integrate into. For many, the complexity of the issues involved from their perspective had been entirely swept to one side. Integration could entail a variety of dimensions and people identified racial, cultural and religious aspects to this. For instance, whilst someone might be culturally or religiously ‘the same as the British’, they might feel excluded on racial grounds. Equally important from their perspective was that what is needed is for the white community to properly understand Islam and South Asian culture: … if white people understood how we think and how our religion is. If you practise Islam you would realize that it is about giving love and caring and respecting, it is not about fighting. If they had the knowledge of our community, we believe then they would understand ... (Shabnam Ishaq, 21, clerical worker). I have got problems with integration and assimilation and from which perspective it comes from. Also I don’t know what integration means. It is very hard for me to integrate, the very fact I have got a different colour. I am not seen as British because of my colour for the start off and I draw comparisons with the Afro-Caribbean community, who are essentially Christian, have a similar faith and background, but yet because of the colour you would meet Anthony in the pub, drink with him, he is black, Christian perhaps, but you will drink with him, you will play football with him, but yet he is still marginalized because of the fact he is black. Whereas me as a Muslim, I cannot go to the pub because of my religious values, so there is a barrier there which I can’t cross necessarily, and so even if I was to cross that I would still be ‘a Paki’ simply speaking. So even the experience of the Afro-Caribbean community are still in their ghettos and they have not been integrated or accepted by white society as a whole, even despite the fact that everything else is the same except for the colour. So I don’t think integration is achievable, we can have co-existence in terms of tolerance and having positive regards for each other’s values, beliefs and faiths. It seems integration is being expected from us as a milestone but that unachievable because of the very fact that some else’s vision is coloured (Abu Zainab, 30, charity manager).

For our interviewees, integration had been defined from a purely white British perspective. It was the norms and practices of a taken-for–granted, if difficult to define and articulate, white Britishness that people felt they were being asked to integrate into. An especially important aspect of this debate was that around residential segregation. Again this had been conceptualized in the community cohesion debate from a purely white British perspective, and this is especially apparent in the idea that people ‘choose’ to live separately, as if there were no constraints on their behaviour and as if the white population was entirely passive in this process. The debate about the ethnic segregation of neighbourhoods in Britain is a longrunning one that has recently become much more politically significant as the result of the identification by the Cantle Report and others of its supposed role in ‘causing’ the riots. The detailed and technical debates about the degree of and reasons for such segregation are not something that we can go into in detail here (for example, Phillips, Davis and Ratcliffe, 2007; Simpson, 2003). What we are interested in here is the views of our interviewees about how the phenomenon has been constructed for them by the debates about policy responses to the 2001 riots.


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One important distinction that people made was between segregation in terms of where people live, as opposed to employment. Significantly, the community cohesion debate has focused entirely on the former to the neglect of the latter. With respect to residential segregation, this was seen as unfortunate, but South Asian people value the contact with South Asian culture in terms of where they live. Furthermore, as detailed earlier in this chapter, there was the perception that white people do not want to mix with South Asians after the events of 2001: Actually you see these youths and you think badly of them, but then you feel comfortable living around them because you feel safe. I don’t mind living in a totally Asian area, but then again I would like it if it was a little bit more mixed. But living with Asians, you know them really well and you talk to them about anything and it is really good. But I would like it to be more mixed. I would like white people and people of different races to mix more because in England there is just not only a lot of white people, there are black people, Afro-Caribbean, Asians, Pakistanis and Indian. And I think we should all try to get along more, but we don’t know how we are going to make that happen. Because since the riots have happened, the white people don’t want to mix with us (Sadia Malik, 16, student).

In contrast to the segregation that people experienced in schools and local neighbourhoods, integration in the sense of people working alongside each other was found in employment. For some, this was seen as counter-balancing the segregation found in education and housing: But you know when we were talking about the lack of mixing in schools, I think there is a good mix between whites and Asians, because the older people who work in the hospitals and shops there are white people and Asian people who work together, like my sister works with all white people and she gets on really well with them. And there is plenty of other people that I know, so there still is a mix (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19).

Another important theme of the post-riot integration debate was the issue of learning English (Ritchie, 2001). Being able to communicate fluently in Urdu or Punjabi is an important means of access to cultural, religious and family practices, yet fluency in English is important as a way of accessing education and economic opportunities. This was clearly recognized by our interviewees. What was critical in the debate about integration was the coercion of having to learn English to a certain level in order to be British. This issue was entirely irrelevant to the reasons for the riots, but became central to debates after the riots. It was a central means by which the riots were racialized, and linked to wider questions of immigration control and citizenship (McGhee, 2005; Kalra, 2002; Kundnani, 2007). Whilst learning English was seen as useful and a practical necessity for new migrants, many saw through the then new English language requirements being proposed: That came about after the riots. David Blunkett said this and he also said that we should integrate more and become more English. That is a very crafty way of keeping them out.

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When people came in the 1960s they didn’t know English then did they? I think learning English is very practical and it is a good thing but they can’t say you are only allowed into the country if you can speak the language. That is like saying you can marry someone from back home as long as they are educated enough to speak English. It is nothing to do with the people on the streets who were rioting, they could all speak English. So it has got nothing to do with learn our language and then you will become more accepting of us and then we won’t have any problems. That is stupid because a lot of these kids, they were in the early twenties and they have all been born here, brought up here and they can speak English and it is nothing to do with that. It should no way be compulsory. I think it is good that they are saying that because when they get here they have got to learn it anyway. My auntie has not studied, she does not go out and she has been here for ten years and she can fully communicate with us in English. If you can speak English, you don’t have to rely on anyone else to interpret for you. If they are so concerned about these people coming into the country who can’t speak English, then they should provide the facilities to make sure they can learn it when they get here. It should be part of an agreement that they go on a course when they get here. This is just a way of stopping people from coming, really it is nothing to do with speaking English … And if they’re worried about us taking their jobs, then surely it is best if we can’t speak English because then we will be less of a threat to them, won’t we? (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19).

Conclusion In this chapter we have considered the consequences of the riots for the Pakistani community in Bradford, their relationships with the white community, their experiences of racism and Islamophobia, the significance of Islam in their lives and the issues of segregation and integration. The riots had the effect of bringing even more to the fore the political divisions within the ‘imaginary’ Pakistani community of Bradford. These divisions emerged particularly around different class interests, with local entrepreneurs keen to distances themselves from the rioters, whilst other divisions opened up in terms of opinions about the sentencing of the rioters. This challenges those simplistic views of a community united in its response to the riots; equally it undermines those who wish to see the divisions within the community purely in terms of generations. The violence of the summer of 2001 also impacted upon the relationships between Pakistanis in Bradford and the white community. For some, this was seen


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as a reversal of what they had experienced in the improving relationships with local white people since the 1960s and 1970s. One feature of this was that people felt that explicitly expressing racist views either verbally or behaviourally had again become acceptable amongst some in the white community. Some of those whom we interviewed had recently experienced such instances of racism and Islamophobia, though they felt that they were more frequent in areas outside of Bradford, and had also increased significantly as a result of the 9/11 attacks in the USA. Those women wearing traditional forms of dress and men in certain occupations, or when wearing traditional clothing, seemed to have been especially likely to have reported such experiences to us. Issues around the integration and community cohesion agendas that emerged during 2001–02 as the dominant policy response to the riots were seen as especially problematic. Cultural integration was seen as problematic due to ongoing barriers around race and religion, and the reported reluctance of many white people to engage meaningfully with South Asian culture and Islam. However, integration in employment was overlooked by the new policy agenda with its focus on neighbourhoods and schools. Broadly speaking, the picture that emerged was one of worsening relationships with the white community and the failure of the emerging discourse of community cohesion to recognize and address these issues. These findings pose a challenge to certain aspects of established sociological discussions of ethnic identities, multiculturalism and racism that have emerged from the 1990s onwards (for example, Back, 1996; Baumann, 1996; Bhavnani, Mirza and Meetoo, 2005: 53–64; Hewitt, 2005). Quite simply the times have moved on. That body of work that has been usefully referred to as ‘everyday situated racism’ (Bhavnani, Mirza and Meetoo, 2005: 53) noted the multifarious, mutating and mobile character of everyday racisms, and that these were rooted in local experiences. Although there were efforts to emphasize that this was for the most part cultural racism, Islamophobia simply does not feature. Furthermore, the majority of the experiences reported in these studies are from one part or another of London. The local political and racial situations elsewhere are very different. Furthermore, these texts were produced in the era of ‘official multiculturalism’ and in some respects some of this literature could be read as a radical critique of it. However, the official rejection of both multiculturalist and equal opportunities approaches followed in the wake of the riots, as the state turned to naked retribution on the one hand and managerialist communitarianism in the form of community cohesion on the other. These national level responses imposed locally have opened the door to a more explicit public racism of discourse and behaviour aimed especially at South Asian Muslims. The London-based analysis of ‘everyday situated racism’ marginalized the distinctively British Muslim experiences of South Asian communities up and down the country, just as much as the anti-racist thinking of a previous decade had done (Modood, 1997). This was a marginalization of religion, ethnicity and place within Britain. These writings also failed to take account of the global context of Britain’s ethnic minorities. It failed to understand their experiences as structured by the processes of diaspora formation working with the struggles to maintain transnational social connections. For Britain’s Muslims, this became increasingly fraught as the 1990s progressed through conflicts such as the Iraq war and the genocide in Bosnia.

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It is simply impossible to understand the Muslim experience in Britain since the 1980s, and the responses to the riots of 2001, without this broader canvas. We are now in a more intolerant Britain (McGhee, 2005; Kundnani, 2007), certainly for British Muslims. Not only have official responses to the riots and terrorism since then been marking out British Muslims for attention, but the dominant racial discourse in public debate and amongst what passes for public intellectuals in this country revolves around ‘the Muslim question’. These have formed the context of much of the ‘racialization of Muslims’ and their experiences of racism ever since.

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Chapter 7

Disciplined and Punished: Strategic Repression and the Shaming of a Community Introduction One of the most striking features of the state response to the riots in 2001 was the long sentences handed down to the Bradford rioters. These were longer than comparable sentences given to white people involved in later disturbances in Bradford, and longer than those given to other South Asians involved in the riots in other towns that summer. This was part of a centrally sanctioned exercise in the strategic repression of those involved in the riots and their communities. The approach certainly had the public approval of David Blunkett, the then Home Secretary. We refer to this as strategic repression in a quite deliberate way. By strategic we mean a type of action where the actor(s) take account of others’ expectations of them when they are making decisions (Elster, 1979: 18–19). For us the strategic element of the arrests, charging and sentencing was that the criminal justice system and its agents developed this with a consideration of the longer term expectations and considerations of not only the electorate, but more specifically British South Asian Muslim communities. David Blunkett in particular has been very clear about the thinking behind his public pronouncements on the sentencing policy and its consequences. It was not just knee-jerk authoritarian populism, but rather a strategic calculation to ‘teach these communities a lesson in law and order’. The most important prerequisite for the success of the state in punishing those involved in the Bradford violence were the changes in the law relating to riot as a result of events in the 1980s. Under the older public order legislation, very few people were ever charged or successfully prosecuted for the crime of riot in the second half of the twentieth century. For example, in relation to the 1980 Bristol riot, over 130 people were arrested after over 1500 were questioned by police. Most of the offences were for looting, threatening behaviour and the possession of offensive weapons. The majority of cases were heard in the Magistrates Court, found guilty and resulted in heavy fines. These sentences were described soon afterwards as ‘severe’ (Joshua and Wallace, 1983: 140). In the Bristol case, 16 people were initially charged with riot, but at various stages, mostly to do with the quality of the police evidence, all of these cases failed to result in a conviction (Joshua and Wallace, 1983: 140–84). The failure of the Bristol prosecutions and the subsequent refusal to pursue charges of riot against those involved in more serious disturbances in 1981 was one of the reasons for the reform of public order legislation, although concerns with public


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order going back to the 1970s played the most significant role (P.A.J. Waddington, 1994: 32). The 1986 Public Order Act introduced a much more promiscuous legal definition of riot; one that would make prosecutions much more feasible in cases such as the riots experienced in England during the 1980s. The Law Commission, in 1982, specifically recommended the redefinition of common purpose and the intention of rioters to help each other. This represented a loosening of the legal definition of riots that would address the problems faced by the prosecution in cases such as the St Paul’s riot (Joshua and Wallace, 1983: 204–5). The 1986 Public Order Act specifies a sentence of up to ten years for the offence of riot which is defined as follows: (1) Where twelve or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety, each of the persons using unlawful violence for the common purpose is guilty of Riot. (2) It is immaterial whether or not the twelve or more persons use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously. (3) The common purpose may be inferred from conduct. (4) No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene. (5) Riot may be committed in private as well as in public places (Carling et al., 2004: 11).

Critical in this re-definition was that violence need not be threatened nor used simultaneously by those involved, and that common purpose could now be inferred from the conduct of those charged. These removed the possibility of much of the detailed legal debate about the definition of common purpose, and how it could be proven, that accompanied the Bristol prosecutions (Joshua and Wallace, 1983). Furthermore, it facilitated the use of video and photographic evidence. In particular, as common purpose can now be inferred from conduct, if the police have video of you being there in the crowd that has been defined as a rioting crowd, guilt pretty much automatically follows, as the following illustrates: Alam Zeb Khan, 27, was described by police as being a ringleader. This was the only apparent evidence against him as there was no video footage of him throwing stones. He received a sentence of three years for riot. Alam is also deaf (Allen, 2003: 40).

In the first two sections we examine the controversy over the sentencing of the rioters. Here the primary debate has been between the families of those convicted and their representatives (Allen, 2003) and academics (Carling et al., 2004) whose work has had the backing of the West Yorkshire Police, although funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The rest of the chapter is then concerned with the views of the sentencing amongst our interviewees. This was seen by many as a racially motivated collective punishment of the community by the criminal justice system, politicians and the media. The Sentencing Controversy It is rare for the police to prefer the charge of riot to less serious charges under the 1986 Public Order Act. The police are required to gain the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for each time someone is charged with riot, and as Allen

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(2003: 34) suggests, this raises the possibility that the whole approach to the charges, trials and sentences in Bradford had at least the tacit approval, if not the active support, of the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary. Reflecting back on this in his autobiography, Blunkett remained unrepentant and proud of his approach: Thugs are thugs, from whatever community, ethnic or faith background. The problems that they articulate need to be addressed, but their methods need to be crushed. That was the message that I promoted … The reaction from the police was remarkable. The fact that I had stood up for law and order and for tough – though fair – action in dealing with the self-destruction of home and community was widely welcomed. In other words, I had established a very clear message, that we were not prepared to tolerate mindless violence and the counterproductive undermining of all our efforts, and that we would take any action necessary to stop it (Blunkett, 2006: 280).

Carling et al. (2004) completed a detailed analysis of the sentencing of those convicted for offences committed during the riots. This included a consideration of the consistency of sentencing in relation to the charges and the backgrounds of those concerned. Over 69 per cent of those involved were charged with riot under the 1986 Public Order Act. Of the remainder, 17 per cent were charged with violent disorder and the rest with other offences (Carling et al., 2004: 15). They also found that the average age of those charged with riot or violent disorder was significantly lower than that of those charged with other offences. Over 90 per cent were convicted of their offences (Carling et al., 2004: 23), a seemingly historically high rate of conviction for offences committed in these types of disturbance. In relation to the Bristol riot of 1980, none of those charged with riot were successfully convicted. For the 1981 riots in Brixton, Southall, Liverpool and Manchester, Vogler (1991: 158–61) gives acquittal rates of between 10 and 22 per cent. However, there are significant differences between the events of 1981 elsewhere in England and 2001 in Bradford. Most significantly, the 1981 rioters were not charged with riot, but a variety of other offences. In 2001 the authorities had at their disposal the changes in the law and the criminal justice system, principally the provisions of the 1986 Public Order Act. The police used video evidence in 2001 both to identify perpetrators and to use as evidence in court, although video was used previously to identify those involved in the 1995 disturbances in Bradford, and they had previously used TV footage and press photographs to identify perpetrators in Bristol in 1980 (Joshua and Wallace, 1983: 149). For a variety of reasons, then, the Bradford rioters were much more likely to be charged and convicted of more serious offences than those involved in comparable disturbances in the 1980s. For the most serious offence of riot, 96 per cent of the adults were given prison sentences, compared to 21 per cent of those aged under 18, with most of them being given detention and training orders. Over 70 per cent of the adults convicted of violent disorder also received prison sentences. Most of the youth prison sentences for riot were for up to 18 months, whereas most of the adults were sentenced to four or five years for riot, with some sentences ranging up to nine years. In comparison, the disturbances in the white area of Ravenscliffe on 9 July 2001 resulted in only seven convictions for violent disorder, with prison sentences of up to three years (Carling et al., 2004: 23–6).


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However, in Bradford the police did not initially make it clear what the specific charges were that the offenders would be charged with, nor was it made clear what the sentences would be when they appealed for people to hand themselves in or for information from the public. Consequently, many individuals voluntarily handed themselves into the police or were identified to police by friends and family in response to the release of photographs of those wanted by the police in connection with the riots. These photographs appeared in the local press, on the police website, in police stations, as well as mosques and local schools. At the time it was the country’s largest criminal investigation. What followed was an act of collective goodwill by a majority of those sought by the police, their families and the wider South Asian community as a step towards re-constructing good community relations. As Allen (2003: 34) observed: ‘the vast majority of these were not only community or self volunteered, but were also first-time offences without any history of criminal activity’. In response to the initial sentences, the Fair Justice for All Campaign was launched by some of the female relatives of some of those who had been arrested and convicted. This sought to provide a support network for those who had been sent to prison and their families, as well as launching legal challenges against the sentences (Allen, 2003: 35). The campaign was launched at a public meeting in Bradford. Over 400 people were present, 99 per cent of whom were of South Asian origin (personal observations). Of the 145 convicted for riot offences considered by Allen, many did not receive any reduction in their sentence for not having previous convictions (Allen, 2003: 38). The following are some of the cases cited by Allen: Musader Khan, a 21-year-old student without previous convictions and who had eyewitness accounts testifying that he protected a pregnant woman and a pet shop during the disturbances, still received a two-year sentence for ‘hurling a piece of rubble’ (Allen, 2003: 39). Mohammed Arif, aged 26 with no previous convictions, was sentenced to five years and three months for throwing bricks after allegedly being kicked in the groin by a police officer (Allen, 2003: 40). Mohammed Ali Zaman was sentenced to two and a half years for throwing two or three stones, despite the 26-year-old being filmed trying to usher youngsters off the street and protect cars at a garage that was being attacked (Allen, 2003: 40).

The sentencing of the rioters was consistent amongst those convicted for offences that were part of those disturbances (Carling et al., 2004). This had the effect of making it extremely difficult to launch appeals against the sentencing of particular individuals. The main disparity was between those predominantly South Asian Muslims convicted for their role in the riot in Manningham compared to the whites convicted for their role in the disturbances in Ravenscliffe shortly afterwards. The events on the Ravenscliffe estate, which had been targeted by BNP campaigners in the weeks before the riot, were on a much smaller scale than those in Manningham with much less damage, fewer police injured and only 60 people involved. The average sentence for the Manningham riot was four and half years, and for the Ravenscliffe

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disturbances was only two years. The key difference lay in the decision by the CPS to charge many of those involved in the Manningham disorders with riot, but only to charge those involved in the Ravenscliffe disorders with violent disorder (Allen, 2003: 41–2). Also important in the Bradford sentencing was the high public profile of the principal judge in the cases, Judge Stephen Gullick. For his efforts, he was appointed to the newly created position of Honorary Recorder by the City Council (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 12 June 2002). He repeatedly defended the sentences that he gave against the growing criticism, and a lengthy statement was published after the initial sentences were handed down towards the end of 2001: On the one hand, I must have regard to the total picture as it has been presented to me, and on the other I must pay heed, as I have done, to the specific acts of an individual such as yourself. However, it must be made crystal clear to everyone that on such tumultuous and riotous occasions, each individual who takes an active part by deed or by encouragement, is guilty of an extremely grave offence, simply by being in a public place and being engaged in a crime against the peace … Those who choose to take part in activities of this type must understand that they do so at their peril. It must be made equally clear, both to those who are apprehended and to those who might be tempted to behave in this way in the future, that the Court will have no hesitation in marking the seriousness of what has occurred and it will act in such a way in the present case as will, I hope, send out a clear and unambiguous message as to the consequences to the individual of participating in events such as were seen on July 7. It is a message which I trust will deter others from engaging in this type of behaviour in the future (Gullick, quoted in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 23 November 2001).

The strategic intent of deterrence is transparent here, with the consequence being a kind of collective punishment and community criminalization. However, only a few at the time were willing to suggest that this was a clear case of political interference in sentencing policy: ‘[the sentences] were passed by the judiciary because the Prime Minister and Home Secretary David Blunkett had set a clear framework for sentencing’ (Margaret Eaton, member of Bradford City Council, quoted in Allen, 2003: 50). Only off the record was a senior member of the West Yorkshire Crown Prosecution Service willing to state to us that this was indeed the case. Furthermore, there was also the widespread impression that the approach in 2001 was to make up for what had happened in the wake of the 1995 riots in Bradford, where some of those in authority felt that those involved had ‘got away with it’, and that the Bradford Commission Report had simply blamed the police. The public comments from David Blunkett, as well as most local politicians, show that there was widespread support for this strategy among elected politicians. What we can be certain about is that there was no co-ordinated public opposition from the vast majority of local politicians, much to the dismay of some in the local community. As one local informant explained to us: Well, I think in previous riots the police have been criticized back in 1995 for a variety of reasons, and in particular there was a white backlash saying that the criminal justice system was too lenient. Interestingly enough, whether that type of image was right or wrong those perceptions have been strengthened following the sentencing. If you look


Riotous Citizens at the sentencing of the young people, on average four and half years to five years and even greater, suggests that there was some planning on the part of criminal agencies to deal with a firm hand. And there is a strong view, particularly amongst the Asian youth, that the sentences that have been dished out are totally disproportionate for the level of offences that have been committed (Mushir Choudhary, 46, male community development worker).

One important feature of the trials was the use of video evidence. During the trials themselves two videos were often shown. The first was an edited series of scenes from the disturbances, and the second was evidence of the actions of the particular individuals who were being tried. These videos were shown despite the fact that many of the defendants had handed themselves in to the police, and had pleaded guilty to the offence of riot quite early on in the process. The first video in the first trial lasted about 15 minutes and, in the words of Judge Gullick who summarized its contents in his summing up: … seeks to give a flavour of what occurred over a period of several hours in and around the city centre, and the White Abbey Road area of Bradford on Saturday, July 7. It can only give the most passing of impressions as to what occurred, given the length of the actual disturbances, but as one would expect from film, it graphically and vividly portrays events as they occurred over that lengthy period (Gullick, quoted in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 23 November 2001).

Gullick claims that sentences were discounted to take account of the lack of previous convictions, whether or not individuals had handed themselves in to the police and had pleaded guilty to riot at an early stage. This he made clear in his comments upon sentencing Shazad Ashraf, the first of the rioters to be convicted. Despite having handed himself in to police, having pleaded guilty to riot and having no previous convictions, 19-year-old Shazad was sentenced to five years in a young offenders institution (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 23 November 2001). The high publicity given to this sentence and the judge’s summing up may have influenced the decisions of other rioters in their pleas. If someone like Shazad Ashraf got five years, what would be the sentences for older rioters possibly with previous convictions who tried to plead innocent to less serious charges? Criminalizing the Rioters Despite the efforts of many to the contrary, the argument that riots are caused by a criminal or radical element within the crowd is difficult to sustain in relation to the Bradford rioters. These include claims from politicians that they were just criminals, such as that from Terry Rooney, the Labour Member of Parliament for Bradford North, who asserted that: ‘It was nothing to do with race or social problems, like it was in Oldham or Burnley. In Bradford it was a straightforward criminal act’ (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 10 June 2005). Furthermore, some academic analyses have asserted that most of those arrested for their part in the riots had criminal convictions or were otherwise known to the police (Carling et al., 2004: 22). Given the provenance of this data, drawn directly


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from the records of the West Yorkshire Police, this is an issue that we have to address in some detail in order to sustain our broader arguments. The details are presented in Table 7.1. Table 7.1

Previous convictions of those arrested for offences committed during the 7th July 2001 riot

Conviction Record



No Previous Convictions



Previous Convictions



Cautions etc.



Total Source Carling et al 2004: 54, table A3



There are a number of important criticisms to make of Carling et al.’s analysis. First and foremost, they are misleading in their account of their own data as they state categorically that the majority of those arrested ‘were not first-time offenders’ (Carling et al., 2004: 22). However, to be cautioned by the police is not the same as being convicted of an offence, although it is still a very serious matter. Although over 45 per cent had been convicted of an offence, as can seen from Table 7.1, this is still contrary to what Carling et al. claim in their text, that the majority were not first-time offenders. They highlight the fact that 74 of ‘those known to the police’ (Carling et al., 2004: 22) had been involved in drugs-related offences. What is not clear is whether these involved cautions, dealing, possession or what category of drug was involved. It is also entirely unclear what kinds of offence more generally the perpetrators had been either convicted of or cautioned for. Carling et al. provide no details, leaving it to the feverish imaginations of their readers already primed with the reference to drugs. They could indeed be relatively minor offences. The Fair Justice for All Campaign did not represent all of those convicted and it is conceivable that the majority of the families involved had relatives who were indeed first-time offenders, or had only previously received cautions or convictions for minor offences. In the case of one relative whom we interviewed, her husband’s previous conviction was for a driving offence. We have no way of knowing how serious other offences were, and we see no reason to disbelieve the families’ claims that their relatives who were convicted for their roles in the riots were indeed first-time offenders, as a majority of those arrested, as our analysis of Carling et al.’s data above shows, had no previous conviction or only a caution. As the newspaper reports were keen to support the view that the rioters were no more than criminals, one would expect them to highlight the previous convictions of the rioters. This they signally did not do in the majority of reports. This suggests to us that the majority of the offences that the rioters had previously been convicted for were so minor as to merit neither comment by a judge noted for his public statements, nor influence on their sentences. One example reported in the press was that of Asam Latif, a married father of four, who was jailed for four years for riot, as he appeared


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on video throwing one stone. He had a previous conviction, aged 17, for driving without insurance or a valid MOT (The Guardian, 31 August 2002). We suspect that this may be typical of many of those reported as being known to the police. Our analysis of those trials that were reported in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus shows that only 11.6 per cent of the individuals concerned had previous convictions mentioned in the reports of their trials, and these were usually of the most serious kinds of offence. This further supports out contention that many of the previous offences given such prominence by Carling et al. and the police are relatively minor. Finally, a study by the West Yorkshire Probation Service, comparing a sample of those convicted of offences committed during the riots with a sample of offenders sentenced to similar terms of imprisonment in Leeds, found that: ‘A large proportion of those in the riot sample had no or very few previous convictions …’ (Cocker, 2005: 264). A further comparison with those arrested for their part in the 1981 riots in Brixton, Southall, Liverpool and Manchester is also instructive. Vogler’s (1991) analysis shows that between 54 and 84 per cent of those arrested had a Criminal Records Office (CRO) record, with the highest percentage being amongst the predominately South Asian groups from the Southall riot that was precipitated by an NF demonstration. Consequently, in terms of previous convictions, the Bradford rioters had a lower level of previous convictions compared to at least some similar groups involved in comparable riots two decades earlier. Whilst the media, some politicians and Carling et al. seem to give the impression that the majority of the rioters were serial offenders, subsequent events have proved them wrong, as only 3 per cent of released riot offenders have re-offended compared to a national re-offending rate of 58 per cent. This has been put down to the special attention accorded to the rioters by the West Yorkshire Probation Service (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 22 September 2005). If so, it is the most astoundingly successful project aimed at reducing re-offending amongst a group that some would want us to believe are largely made up of career criminals. However, the Probation Service’s own data showed that the rioters had a low level of previous convictions (Cocker, 2005). Clearly the conclusion to be drawn here is that the majority of those convicted were not routinely involved in serious crime. The principal concern of Carling et al.’s analysis is with demonstrating that the sentences were fair. However, behind this veneer of objectivity and social scientific detachment lies a rather different agenda. Primarily their account supports that of the police, the judiciary and the vast majority of politicians. In short, it supports the view of some of the most powerful forces in the land against a group from one of the most marginalized, vilified and powerless sections of contemporary British society. For all the emphasis on fairness, it totally fails to examine what this really means. It takes for granted the moral basis of the public order legislation, how it works and how the criminal justice system operated in these cases. Despite recognizing the political climate that was created, and the need for clarity about when riot charges are used, these issues are swept aside with the statement that: ‘It is not our purpose in this report to come down on one side or another in this controversy …’ (Carling et al., 2004: 7). Thus the account in practice entirely ignores the processes that led to the decision to charge so many with the more serious charge of riot as opposed to

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less serious offences. It is in this process prior to the trials and sentencing that the unfairness originates. A key question is in whose eyes were the sentences fair? Fairness is contextual, and by appealing to highly contrived notions of the judicial process and the analysis of the outcomes of this using highly technical statistical techniques to criticize those who have challenged the fairness of the sentencing is quite simply not just to miss the point, but to obscure the naked and biased use of state power against a relatively powerless community. Community Judgements of the Sentencing In this section we examine the views of our interviewees about the sentencing. Their context becomes critical at this juncture. When we were conducting the bulk of the interviews, the controversy about the sentences was just beginning and the formation of the support group took place in the middle of the interviewing period. Consequently, there was a heightened public debate about the sentencing at the time. Several of our interviewees were acutely aware of the differences in the response of the police and the criminal justice system to the riots of 1995 compared to 2001. Further themes that emerged here were the sense that people with and without previous records received the same sentences and that this was unfair. In addition, some felt that the personal and family circumstances of the rioters should have been taken more account of in the sentencing. Finally, there was a strong sense of racial injustice emerging, with the Pakistani Bradford rioters being treated much more harshly than the white rioters. One consequence of this was a further loss of confidence in the police, such that many of those whom we interviewed told us that they did not and would not provide information to the police about the rioters. One local community leader described how community leaders in the Manningham area went to a meeting called by the police, and gave their support for the arrests that followed: They were shocked and they were angry. They did not know what to do ... They were all concerned about the future of this area, future of their children. And then the police called a meeting in this hall here, in the Carlisle Business Centre. Mr Whiteman was there and we also went and this hall was full. People came from local mosques and they all said we will support you … (Javed Seth, 47, magistrate and member of police liaison committee).

However, this should best be seen as the perspective of that section of the older community leadership that is integrated into the local dominant white power structure. Furthermore, the majority of the community was not fully aware of the sentencing policy that would emerge. Not all agreed with this view, especially after the sentencing had begun. Most obviously, many interviewees made comparisons with 1995, noting how the sentencing then was comparatively more lenient. Whilst there are a variety of reasons for that, our interviewees were clear in their view that the political context had changed, and that this was a high profile campaign against


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the rioters through the media. Many recognized the strategic intent and the deterrent effect that was sought this time round, for example: I don’t think there were as harsh as this one. I don’t think much was done about it to be honest, they didn’t put any photos in the paper or anything. That is why I think they took it one step further and they were determined to get them this time. Maybe if more were done last time then this riot would not have happened (Nadia Malik, 35, playgroup worker).

Many felt that the South Asian men had been unfairly treated in comparison to white offenders who had been involved in the disturbances that followed shortly afterwards. This was a view found amongst both young and older informants, as they made comparisons in terms of sentencing, the media ‘hunt’ for the rioters through use of ‘wanted posters’ in the local press, as well as the more general local media reporting of the trials. All clearly felt that the reason for the differential treatment was simply racism, demanding to know why the Pakistani offenders had been treated so differently: Whilst the Asian youths got five to seven years’ imprisonment, the white youths only got two years. You have to ask yourself why that is, there is obviously one law for them and another for us. The white youths caused plenty of trouble but it is not mentioned in the media (Ramzan Latif, 64, retired shop keeper. Translated from Punjabi). There was no photos of white youths in the TV or papers. They were just showing pictures of Asian lads and we all know that there were plenty of white lads involved in the rioting. When we did hear of a white youth being imprisoned, it was for a fraction of the time that the Asian lads got for the same offence. Justice was not the same in that case. I want to know why that was the case. The Asian lads all got over five years’ imprisonment but the white youths only got two and a half years. There were youths from every community in the rioting, it wasn’t only Asian lads. I want to know why there were no photos of other lads from different backgrounds in the papers and on television. They are trying to blame the Pakistani lads and our community for all the trouble (Naveed Jamil, 51, retired factory worker and Asghar Anwar, 78, male retired factory worker. Translated from Punjabi). To this day I haven’t seen anything say oh the National Front member called so and so has been sent down for four years or something. And I think the sentencing that they are giving is too harsh, for throwing one brick people are getting four years. There are a few people who have known for a very long time that are getting four years, five years. I think that is unfair because there are people, right, who do a lot more crimes, right, you know, sex crimes, there is some people who get up to a minimum of two years and get away with two years. Now that doesn’t seem fair, does it? (Kamran Ahmad, 19, student and Omar Akhbar 20, fast food restaurant manager).

Furthermore, some had changed their view in the light of the sentencing; for example, Zara Hussain told us: ‘When I first heard about the sentencing I thought yes they deserve it and they might learn their lesson. But when I looked into it I think they are very harsh … ’ In contrast to this, some did feel that the sentencing was fair and

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reasonable. These were often, although not exclusively, the perspectives of older members of the community who had migrated to the UK. They sometimes justified their views in terms of their status as migrants to this country. As a result they felt that there was an obligation to abide by the laws of the country. For those who did not, the punishments were simply a legitimate response by the state: I think it depends on the crime and the people who are handing out the punishment. If you are living in another country, you have to abide by the law of that country. You cannot expect to disrupt everything and then be given a pat on the back. I think the police were trying to do their job, which was to maintain the peace (Zafeera Javed, 45, female class assistant and machinist. Translated from Punjabi). Well they varied, didn’t they, from several months to several years and I don’t think they were too outrageous to be honest with you, because if someone is going to disrupt a community and have absolutely no regard of people’s properties and people’s lives and start hurling bricks at shops that had nothing to do with the riots, then they deserve to be treated like a criminal (Ali Murad, 32, male professional).

The use of the wanted posters was seen as shaming the community. As we have already seen, many felt that this was itself a form of punishment being meted out to the local community by the police, with the collusion of the media. The idea to use what became popularly known as the ‘wanted posters’ arose from the police and it was first put to the police liaison committee, which includes many representatives of the local community, who would have been aware of the impact of the shame on the families of those concerned. However, this did not apparently enter into their deliberations as they just went along with the idea, as it was a necessity from the point of view of the police. This was also justified, as the shaming would have a strategic deterrent effect: Yes, it was discussed and they said it was something that they needed to do. It is not just the riots, any form of crime should have their pictures put in the paper because people should learn from it and that the police are not going to tolerate any form of crime (Kauser Habib, 47, member of police liaison committee).

In contrast to this view, many more of those whom we interviewed were critical of the use of the ‘wanted poster’ campaign. One aspect often noted was that the shame led parents to hand in their sons to the police. However, the result from many people’s perspective was the often harsh treatment in terms of sentencing and longterm disenchantment with the police and the criminal justice system generally: … the fact that their pictures were in the newspapers and their families were shamed, I think that had a big impact. It was shameful because their son’s picture was in the newspaper and the police were looking for them. And a lot of families handed their sons over to the police (Zara Hussain, 29, student). And then the wanted posters. Oh that was the icing on the cake, that was ridiculous.


Riotous Citizens The wanted posters, especially in our culture as well, because it was embarrassing. It is like having a police car parked outside your house, you know everyone wants to know what it going on, especially in close-knit communities. So having these pictures plastered over on the front of every T&A, it was stupid. And then parents sit there saying ‘Oh we know him and him’, ‘That is so and so’s son’. Fair enough that might be a good idea when you are trying to combat crime if there were people causing trouble, you can say it is a pretty good idea. It is a good way to catch the people, but they have not been fair in the sense that it was just towards the Asians and the Asian riots. What about the other riots that have happened and with the white riots that have happened, I don’t think that they did the wanted posters. So if you are going to use an idea and it could be a good way of getting these people, you have to be fair to everyone, you can’t have it just specifically for a certain group (Asian Girls and Women’s Centre, Focus Group, ages 16–19).

The overall result of the use of the wanted posters and the harsh sentencing has been an increase in mistrust of the police and the judicial system. People felt that they had trusted the police and the criminal justice system by co-operating with the search for those wanted in connection with the riots. However, with the lengthy sentences imposed, this trust had quickly turned to hatred and accusations of racially motivated collective punishment of the Pakistani community in Bradford: You could say it is collective punishment because in international law collective punishment is illegal and a group of Asian, minority, young people are being given collective punishment although as individuals. It is recognized as a collective kind of we are watching you, those who have caused trouble this time, we have sentenced them and for next time you better watch out because you will probably get more. That is the type of message that is sending out (Abu Zainab, 30, charity manager). The lack of confidence in the system there and I think people thought they might be sent to prison for a few weeks but not up to four years, where they are actually making criminals where there wasn’t any … (Noor Khan, 46, female professional). … most of the perpetrators of the riots were brought to the police station by their parents and they were under the misguided concept that there was justice in the society of Bradford, but there is no such thing. What they have done is they have alienated those elders as well now. They have alienated the whole community, because the same parents who were willing to turn their kids in a year ago, if something similar happens again they are going to think twice. They were under the impression that if they did that or if the kids turned themselves in themselves, they would get some recommendation for that or there would be some leniency and the prosecutors would be willing to listen to reason. Yes, they did commit an offence, they did commit a crime, they did do something that was wrong, but getting five or seven years, who can’t justify it, it is like the same as a murder charge (Imran Ismail, 28, welfare adviser).

The appointment of Judge Stephen Gullick to the newly created position of the Honorary Recorder of Bradford merely added insult to injury in the eyes of some of our interviewees. This post had been specially created by the City Council to reward him for his efforts in sentencing the rioters:

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… that judge that handed out these sentences that was recently commended for handing these sentences, what an arsehole thing to do. This is our establishment, these are some of the arsehole things that they get up to. They have just commended this idiot for dishing out five and six year sentences to first-time offenders … why commend the arsehole for giving out the harsh sentences. That just pisses off the Asian community even more (Abid Aslam, 33, health advisor).

Many knew of individuals who had been sentenced or were about to be sentenced. This undoubtedly influenced their views of the sentencing policy, as they often had intimate knowledge of their circumstances and the effects of a prison sentence on those involved and their families. These views were especially found amongst the younger interviewees who often made the comparison between the circumstances of the younger rioters who had been sentenced and themselves. They saw the future lives and families of people just like themselves ruined by the criminal justice system for what they saw as relatively minor offences compared to the usual crimes that make the headlines: … four or five years, like some of them are the same age as me ... One of my friends has just been told that he will probably get four and half years and he wanted to go to university, so that has gone out of the window, hasn’t it? I think he threw one stone and he got done for that. His dad is gutted. But his dad has tried to get the community together to try and help his son, but he is definitely going to get sent down regardless of character references or whatever, that judge will send him down, but I don’t think he should (Ibrar Khan, 18, student). I think the sentencing were really hard. Because some of these people are my age, they are 18 or 19 … I know this one guy that was studying, doing a Health and Tourism course, and he was half way through it and only had one year to go, and I think he is going to get sentenced soon. So his future is down the drain basically and all he did was throw a few stones. I agree with punishing them but not to the degree where their career is messed up (Shabnam Ishaq, 21, clerical worker). Everyone feels let down in different ways because 500 people have been picked up by the police and the average sentence that they are getting is four to five years. Now people who rape women, people who murder and people who drink and drive and kill someone don’t even get sentences like that. And the majority of those rioters were either students or working class youths who have never been in trouble with the police, family people. And why is it that they are getting such harsh sentences and a murderer doesn’t? (Altaf Haq, 23, unemployed).

Underlying these views that are critical of the sentencing is a distinctive perspective that involves the following themes. Whilst the violence was wrong and should be punished, the sentences were out of all proportion to what individuals actually did on the day. Furthermore, comparisons were repeatedly made with those white people who were arrested for their part in the later disturbances in Ravenscliffe. In terms of the media treatment of the rioters, the policing and the actions of the criminal justice system, these were all seen by many of our informants, young and old, those who knew rioters and those who did not, as unfairly targeting the Pakistani community.


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In short they were seen as not just institutionally but deliberately racist in intent and effect. ‘Four years and nine months for throwing a few stones’: The Rioter, his Wife and the State The following is a lengthy edited extract from an interview that we conducted with the wife of the one of the convicted rioters. Up to now we have, in the usual sociological fashion, analysed the data from the interviews in terms of the themes and patterns that we have found across them. Whilst this enables us to identify certain commonalities and differences of meaning and interpretation amongst the interviewees’ accounts, it is rather poor at fully appreciating, to use C. Wright Mills (1970: 14–15) terminology, the individual biographical troubles that are so often considered as anonymous public issues. Henna Majid describes how the process of punishment unfolded from hearing about her husband’s picture being in the local newspaper, through going to the police station, the charges being increased in seriousness from violent disorder to riot, the sentencing, the impact on her family and finally their social and political isolation: Right, well we went down to Birmingham for the weekend, as we needed a break. He had been working and I needed a break from the kids. We went up to see his sister in Birmingham and we stayed with her for a couple of days. When we were there a few of his friends were ringing his mobile telling him that his picture was in the paper and we thought they must have got it wrong because he wasn’t even there that long. So he told them he was in Birmingham and that he would back home on Monday. We got home and my mum had saved the paper with his picture in, so we looked at it and he said that he better ring the police station to clear things up. They asked him to go to the station, he went straight down and they said he would be charged with violent disorder and told him to come back for another interview. He went back for the second interview and this time he took a solicitor, and they said he was to be charged with violent disorder, and then the third time he went he was charged with rioting which is a higher charge. Now some people were charged with violent disorder at the same time and they were still charged for that and that is what they appeared in court for. But some of them were changed to rioting which is a higher charge … So it was every week or every couple of weeks and he went in of his own free will every time. And then the third time he went in he told me that he was being charged for rioting ... But to me there wasn’t even a fair trial, there wasn’t any trial. We just went in, they showed a film and then the judge went away, summed up the case and gave them their sentence. Now when my husband went in he was dressed in a suit and before they sentenced him, before the end of the court case, they had a break, he went down and came back up in a tracksuit and top. I then, I knew then, everybody knew. My husband had packed before he went because he knew he was going to be sentenced, there were no other choices. The probation officer said it would either be a custodial sentence, community service or you will be tagged. As far as I am concerned there was no other choices at all, he was going to get a custodial sentence no matter what …

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Four years and nine months for throwing a few stones … I think they could be more lenient towards people that have families, my husband is our main breadwinner, and since he has been gone we have got nothing. I am not condoning anything, I am just saying they could have had some leniency rather than a man that is twenty-five years old, who has no family and is a known trouble maker in the community. I think there could have been some leniency. My view is if they wanted to punish them it should have been a ninemonth custodial sentence and community service … His release date is April 2005 if he doesn’t get parole, which it doesn’t look likely anyway, and before they come out I think they have to go to the police and the council and ask if they will let them back into the community … And it is all based on that, reports and more reports. But judges don’t come into your house and see how you cope without your partner. It is hard. This campaign, you know, we don’t get any public sympathy because the public just think that they shouldn’t have done it, they shouldn’t have been so stupid. But at the end of the day, they saw it as protecting their community. They saw the BNP coming as a threat. People can’t just come into a multicultural city like Bradford, one of the main multicultural cities in Britain I would say, and come and cause trouble. For instance, if someone came and knocked on your door and started causing trouble, you would not just stand there and let them would you? … The whole trial was a farce. I wrote a letter to the judge. I wrote a seven-page letter to the appeal courts. Nobody wants to listen to us. Nobody gives us the chance to stand up in court and explain what this has done to our family and what my husband is really like, not what you have seen of him on film, because the person on that film is not the everyday person I live with. This was a mistake. Isn’t everyone entitled to one mistake? At the end of the day they thought they were protecting their community ... No one was just going to let the BNP do what they want, no one was going to leave them and turn a blind eye. And if you are telling me that the police say that this wasn’t going to happen, well I am sorry but they are lying … There has been no sentencing like this in the whole of Britain. Bradford is the only place that has been sentenced in this way. But there has been no other city like this where there has been this kind of trouble and these kind of sentences, so there is something going on. Like I say, I haven’t got any facts or figures, these are just my thoughts and this is only by reading the papers. A lot of people who used to talk to me have stopped. Those that know that is a lot of people still don’t know. A lot just shrug their shoulders and walk off. Even certain close people who I have tried to talk to will say, well, they have got what they deserve and when I try to explain from my point of view, they don’t want to know, because they think it doesn’t affect them so they are not bothered. A lot of people think they got what they deserved (Henna Majid, 35, playgroup worker, wife of a convicted rioter).

Conclusions: The Nightmare ‘The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living’ (Marx, 1968: 96). The British state has a long tradition of severe punishment of those involved in rioting, and the effectivity of the forces of law and order is one of the central questions that Rude (1964: 11) urges us to pose when analysing


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collective violence. So we have the tradition of generations of punitive punishment of those involved in riots, and the forces of law and order were ruthlessly efficient this time, with the result that the life of Henna Majid and hundreds like her became the nightmare. Whereas in the 1980s the state often found the existing traditional laws of riot difficult to enforce as they saw fit in modern circumstances (Joshua and Wallace, 1983), they resorted to the simple expedient of changing the law in the form of the 1986 Public Order Act, to make it easier next time. From the perspective of those in favour of this kind of response, the events in Bradford in 2001 were the most significant test so far, and for them it passed with flying colours. Placing these events in their wider social, political and historical context is central to understanding them, and it is the failure to do this that is the source of the futility to demonstrate ‘fairness’ through statistical techniques as Carling et al. (2004) attempted to do. In comparison, popular notions of fairness and justice amongst our interviewees were rooted in a wider context. Some saw the sentencing as fair and reasonable. They often rooted this judgement in the fact that they felt that they were living in ‘another country’ and that the sons of the community should abide by the laws of that country. Another different moral economy (Thompson, 1991) was found amongst the majority who were critical of the sentencing. Here comparisons were made with what happened in 1995, as well as with other serious violent offenders such as rapists. The shaming of the community through the use of ‘wanted posters’ was strongly criticized as having racist tones, given the high value placed on family honour by many South Asians. More tellingly, there was a strong theme of racial justice to their judgements of the fairness of the sentencing compared to white offenders, as well as context-specific ethnical judgements, where they felt that the system had failed to take account of family circumstances and lack of previous offences.

Chapter 8

Citizenship, Generation and Ethnic Identity Introduction Our aim in this chapter is to provide a detailed analysis of how the Pakistani community living in Bradford made sense of their citizenship and identity in the aftermath of the worst urban riots in Britain since the 1980s. Using our interview data, we discuss how Pakistani people living in Bradford sustain different identity claims in relation to citizenship, ethnicity and national belonging. In particular, we want to examine how ‘citizenship’ is used as an aspect of British Pakistani identity, using the idea of generations as a unit of analysis. This is an issue that arose during the research process. What repeatedly struck us whilst interviewing was the ways in which second-generation British Pakistanis drew upon popular ideas of citizenship and rights to assert their identities and sense of belonging. Furthermore, these identity claims seemed quite different from ideas of national belonging. Our interest in the theme of generational differences arose because it was immediately apparent as an aspect of variation between people ‘inductively’ from a reading of the interview transcripts. Furthermore, other academic commentators had emphasized the role of the younger generation in their interpretations of the events of 2001 (Amin, 2002: 964–7; Kundnani, 2001: 108). As Kalra (2002: 25) argued: ‘… all the young people in those towns who were engaged in violence were certainly educated if not born in Britain’. These themes of generational difference in relation to urban riots are familiar from analyses of the disturbances of the 1980s (Gilroy, 2002; Lea and Young, 1982; Waddington, 1992). However, we want to push the question of generational differences further than this merely descriptive point. We wish to use it both more critically and analytically, albeit as an ideal type. More generally, Edmunds and Turner (2002) have suggested that generations are sociologically significant groups because their distinct cohort experiences give rise to a collective identity that means they can act in historically significant ways. In this specific context, as other analyses of the riots suggest, young South Asians are a socially and sociologically significant generation (Amin, 2002; Kalra, 2002; Kundnani, 2001). We should stress that, like Edmunds and Turner, our use of generation in a conceptual and analytical fashion is abstract and ideal typical. It does not therefore shed light on, for instance, those younger people who have migrated to Bradford through marriage in recent years. Furthermore, many first-generation South Asian migrants have been involved in radical politics since the 1960s, so it would be wrong to stereotype them all as politically passive. Indeed that is not what we are claiming here. We feel that much of what has been written about generational


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difference within South Asian communities has been based upon a fundamental methodological error. They have solely examined what the generations have said about each other, rather than asking different generations about the same issues in order to explore commonalities and differences. Throughout this book, we have been pursuing both strategies and we continue to do so here. We begin with a critical discussion of theoretical debates around citizenship. This is followed by an examination of the relationship between national identity and citizenship as an identity, arguing that Britishness and Englishness are ‘racialized’ identities, whilst citizenship as an identity is not, which is precisely why it can be drawn upon by our respondents. The chapter then goes on to consider how our respondents expressed their citizenship identities in the context of their ethnic, cultural and religious contexts. In the final section that considers the interview data, we highlight the generational differences in citizenship identities, where younger people’s identities are contrasted with the older generation’s weaker ‘denizen’ identity born of the insecurity produced by their migration to Britain. Citizenship versus Identity Since Marshall (1950), sociological work on citizenship has extended the idea in relation to various dimensions of inequality, such as gender, ethnicity, sexuality and disability (Bulmer and Rees, 1996; Held, 1989; Isin and Wood, 1999; Lister et al., 2003; Nash, 2000; Sypnowich, 2000; Turner, 1986; Waite, 1999; Yuval Davis, 1997), or in relation to globalization and the restructuring of welfare provision (Delanty, 2000; Glenn, 2000; Roche, 1992; Roche and Van Berkel, 1997; Soysal, 1994; Turner, 1993; Urry, 2000). For the most part these institutionalist writers have reproduced the distinction between citizenship as a universal rights-based discourse embedded in the institutions of the nation-state on the one hand, and identity on the other. To the extent that this implies certain universal features of the nation-state’s subjects as male, white, heterosexual, and so on, citizenship is seen as exclusionary and creating social divisions as much as providing the means to overcome them. Citizenship and identity are usually counterposed to one another. The former expresses universal individual rights and duties, whilst the latter implies particularism and group membership. Kymlika’s (1995) work has challenged the simpler versions of this polarity, and there is now a substantial literature that analyses group identities in relation to citizenship rights and claims (Miller, 2000; Schwartzmantl, 2003). Some writers, such as Isin and Wood (1999) and Pakulski (1997), have emphasized the relationship between citizenship and identity in terms of the right to an identity, where citizenship is an ever-expanding legal status including more and more social groups. This tends to overlook how citizenship can be a component of identity itself. Similarly, Solomos (2001) examined how citizenship can ‘cope’ with difference and multiculturalism, again reflecting the universalism of citizenship in opposition to the particularism of ethnicity. Turner’s (2001) suggestion that we analyse culture from the traditional perspective of citizenship also counterposes citizenship to cultural identity. Crossley (2001) discussed the inter-subjective preconditions of citizenship, where certain types of identity are required for citizenship to function. What all

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of this work shares is what one could term an ‘institutionalist’ orientation to the study of citizenship. However, we want to suggest a re-thinking of citizenship from the perspective of collective identity conceptualized as an imaginary community (Alexander, 2006: 32–3; Anderson, 1983). In short we should recognize how citizenship is now a significant dimension of contemporary hybridized ethnic identities, and that this not only has major consequences for how we define citizenship sociologically, but also implications for understanding the politics of ethnicity in contemporary Britain. For the institutionalist writers, citizenship is purely about the institutions that define and deliver citizenship rights. Citizenship rights may be treated as discourses to be critically analysed, and seen as the objects of political contestation, but ultimately how people think and feel about citizenship is overlooked. Even those few studies that have examined popular perceptions of citizenship (Conover, Crewe and Searing, 1991; Dwyer, 2000; Lister et al., 2003) have for the most part examined views about the institutions of citizenship, rather than how citizenship might be an aspect of their interviewees’ collective identities. However, within some of this work there is a concern with citizenship as an aspect of national identity in Britain that remains under-developed (Conover, Crewe and Searing, 1991: 819–24; Lister et al., 2003: 240–42). This risks conflating citizenship with national identity which we wish to avoid. However, our focus here is on an ethnic group for whom national identity is problematic, either because they were born overseas, or because ‘Britishness’ is a largely white identity that neo-fascists seek to mobilize. As Lister et al. (2003: 242) note, citizenship identities are grounded in individuals’ experiences, and this helps us account for the striking generational differences in citizenship identities that we have uncovered. Brubaker (1992: 21), like many others, has argued that citizenship is about inclusion and exclusion, and that citizens in most European states are ‘insiders’ whose status is ascribed due to their country of birth. He suggests that many ethnic minorities in these countries are ‘outsiders’. They are ‘naturalized’ citizens, whose right to come to Britain is due to their birth in the former empire. For our analysis, this highlights a critical difference in citizenship status and identity between the generations. At best the first generation could be seen as ‘naturalized’ citizens, and their citizenship identities are grounded in that experience, whereas the second and subsequent generations born in Britain feel that their citizenship is ascribed, it is their ‘natural right’ because they were born here. In some European countries there is a secondary citizenship status of being a denizen, of having a right of residence and other civil and social rights, but lacking the right to political representation (Castles and Davidson, 2000: 94–7). Whilst there is no ‘denizen’ status in Britain, what we want to suggest is that the first generation’s citizenship identity approximates to that of being a ‘denizen’. Whilst they have a right to be in Britain, they feel that this is precarious, and for that reason they feel that they are without a political voice. For the older generation, as we shall see, their citizenship identities are weak, temporary and closer to the idea of a ‘denizen’. For the younger generation, their British citizenship is central to their self-understandings and assertions of who they are, and for them the threat from the BNP is just as much a threat to their Britishness as citizens as it is to their ethnic identities. However, their accounts of this threat


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are not in terms of a British or English national identity, but in terms of their rights as British-born citizens. They are expressing and defending a British multicultural, multiethnic citizenship identity. Citizenship and Definitions of Englishness and Britishness National identity has been consistently defined by the far right in terms of white ethnic homogeneity and unity. But in doing so they construct barriers between whites and ‘others’ by maintaining dichotomies in which Englishness continues to reproduce blackness as its ‘other’. This definition treats ethnicity as a major feature of British and English exclusivity. Ultimately this is centred on the invention of an elitist community that serves as a model for the nation as a whole. If a shared identity or Englishness is a matter of sharing some substantive beliefs and requires a common public culture, this seems to be lacking in Britain, which contains a high degree of cultural pluralism. The idea of a shared national identity in Britain is therefore problematic (Kumar, 2002). Britain is made up of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish, and in terms of shared beliefs it includes a substantial number of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Sikhs (Mason, 1995). There is no common culture, first language or robust set of values shared by British citizens, nor is there a shared way of life which could provide the basis for a shared national identity. In this sense Britishness is a political construct, associated with notions of empire, whilst Englishness is a cultural, even ethnic, construct that ‘racializes’ the politics of citizenship (Cesarani, 1996). Pakistanis’ integration into Englishness or Britishness is inhibited by these exclusions of the extreme right, but for them being British is based on the conception of British citizenship as an identity, rather than nationality as an identity; it is thus theoretically able to integrate individuals from ethnic minority communities (Kumar, 2002). In this context, Conover, Crewe and Searing’s (1991) findings, from a white sample, that the British as opposed to the Americans were unable to link their national identity to their citizenship, are important. In the case of the white British, they concluded that national identity and citizenship identity were not even ‘complementary’ (Conover, Crewe and Searing, 1991: 822). National identity and citizenship identity are not the same thing for white Britons. Furthermore, for ethnic minority groups in Britain, the situation is even more complex. Evidence from the recent General Household Survey revealed that whilst 45 per cent of whites called themselves British, 57 per cent of those from ethnic minorities did so. Conversely, 54 per cent of whites referred to themselves as English compared to only 11 per cent of those from ethnic minorities, 37 per cent of whom mentioned some other national identity (National Statistics, 2002: 3.19). The Bradford riot of 2001 may be regarded from some perspectives as a clash of identities, or even between citizenship and identity. Indeed this would seem to be the view implied by the government responses as articulated in the official reports (Cantle, 2001). The younger generations regard themselves as citizens of Britain, but many have also come to see themselves as members of religious, racial, ethnic and linguistic groups. The belief in the basic conflict between citizenship

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and identity arises from a specific conception of each, citizenship as universal and identity as particular (Isin and Wood, 1999). For some of our respondents, the riot was articulating a principle for the recognition of group rights. To many of the young men on the street that night, their presence was defending the interests of their own religion and ethnicity. To be a citizen means to relate to the state in exactly the same way as others, yet for individuals belonging to any particular religious, cultural or ethnic community there may be little or no recognition from the state. For these minorities to make sense of ‘their’ citizenship involves a re-definition of national identity. Young people have developed their own concept of national identity as citizenship which accommodates the idea that a person may have multiple identities, for instance, British/Pakistani/Muslim. There was also a recognition that these different aspects of an individual’s identity may come into conflict with one another, and that one of these different aspects of a person’s identity may depend upon the content of the rest. Ethnic differences mean that what it is to be British for a white person may be radically different from the ‘Britishness’ experienced by someone who belongs to a minority group. Generational ‘Difference’ and British South Asian Identities Mannheim took the category of ‘generation’ as a serious unit of analysis and regarded it as worthy of detailed theoretical attention (Abercrombie, 1980; Edmunds and Turner, 2002; Mannheim 1952/1997). Suggesting that individuals who were born in the same historical conjuncture thus shared certain social characteristics that were subsequently efficacious in a broader sense, Mannheim’s ideas have subsequently been taken up by Edmunds and Turner who argue that a generation is : ‘… a cohort that for some special reason … develops a collective consciousness that permits that generation to intervene significantly in social change’ (Edmunds and Turner, 2002: ix). Whilst they focus on traumatic events such as war as formative of generations, for the first generation of the South Asian diaspora in Britain, migration is formative. They write of generations being alternately passive and strategic, whilst we want to suggest that the first generation of South Asian migrants were strategic in a geographical and economic sense, and the second generation have been strategic in the cultural and political arenas. It is this fundamental distinction that structures our use of generation as a unit of analysis below. Perspectives on generational differences among British South Asians and especially British Pakistanis broadly fall into three categories. We are highly critical of the first two that in their most extreme forms are varieties of cultural racism and stereotypes of the South Asian communities. These perspectives may not be put forward by particular authors, indeed the first two quite opposing perspectives may be found competing for attention within the same text. Rather they are analytical tendencies or discursive constructs running across texts, and not clearly identifiable schools of thought or fully formed theories. Firstly, there are those arguments that emphasize intergenerational conflict as a crisis within the community, such as the official reports into the 2001 riots that we


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consider in more detail in the next chapter (Clarke, 2002; Cantle, 2001; Ritchie, 2001). In some cases this perspective pathologizes the South Asian community. South Asian communities are seen as in a state of crisis with the breakdown of traditional social relations and practices. The younger generation is seen as being ‘out of control’ and the traditional authority of the older generation is being challenged by them (for example, Ghuman, 1994; Goodey, 2001; Kalra, 1980; Wade and Souter, 1992; Webster, 2003). Ultimately this perspective relies upon a stereotype of the traditional South Asian community. However, it is suggested that with migration from the traditional rural backgrounds to the modern consumer society that is Britain, traditional ways of life have been challenged. The younger generation in particular is seen as falling victim to the temptations of a Western popular culture (for example, Ghuman, 1994; Kalra, 1980; Wade and Souter, 1992; Webster, 1997). We reject this view on the grounds that it is selective in its presentation of the evidence about South Asian communities, choosing to generalize from a narrow range of individuals’ experiences. Furthermore, as Edmunds and Turner (2002: 11) note, the failure to transmit culture from one generation to another is a normal feature of modern societies. For brevity, we call this the ‘community crisis model’. Secondly, there are those who write of the Muslim perspective, the Muslim community, in a manner that suggests quite the opposite of the first view (for example, Dwyer, 2000: 90–94). This suggests that South Asian communities, but especially Muslim South Asian communities, have retained their traditional practices and forms of social organization, especially through Islam. This sometimes presents these communities as not just segregated, but isolated from white communities, sealed off from the dominant white society by language, tradition and religion. This presents a homogenous and essentialized view of the South Asian community, where in the British context traditional social forms are being reproduced. Differences between generations are downplayed in the light of superficial evidence of the continuity of apparently traditional practices such as styles of dress and arranged marriages, and the enduring influence of Islam. This fails to see these as complex changing social practices. This perspective overlooks the inherent diversity among even first-generation migrants from Pakistan in terms of caste, class, gender, varieties of Islam, language and region of origin. Furthermore, this approach overlooks social diversification, cultural hybridization and the role of imaginary community. We call this the ‘community reproduction model’. In the third perspective that we are drawing upon in this chapter, the diversity, complexity and changing character of South Asian ethnic identities are at the forefront of the analysis (for example, Ali, Kalra and Sayyid, 2006; Brah, 1996; Hussain, 2005). Whilst the differences between the first and the second and subsequent generations are recognized, these are not seen as pathological and as evidence of ‘community disintegration’. Rising levels of educational attainment, geographical and social mobility within Britain and cultural hybridization mean that the community is becoming more complex, and internally heterogeneous (Hussain and Bagguley, 2007). Consequently, we think that neither the community crisis model nor the community reproduction model are adequate in understanding the complexity and processes of change within South Asian communities and the British Pakistani community in particular. For instance, some of what is presented as

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‘inter-generational conflict’ is the product of cultural hybridization, higher levels of educational attainment, class mobility and the related emergence of new ethnicities among young South Asian people. Where there are problems among the South Asian communities, these are residual or the product of class inequalities being experienced in particular racialized forms. Generations and Hybridity Whilst the two generations of South Asians are often assumed to be connected by a common ‘race’, a national origin and arguably a common history, they have developed different cultural traditions. There are differences that divide the generations of South Asians, yet they are homogenized under the ‘British South Asian’ title. This idea of ‘hybridic Asianess’ is based on a new kind of British Asian identity which borrows from and is influenced by forms of ‘black pride’ and black hip hop or rap music. This can convey itself in popular culture through the formation of new types of music, for example, the fusion of bhangra beats and sounds with more Western dance music (Sharma, 2006). The definition itself makes an ethnic and racial distinction by its classification of the group as British South Asian. Such an ethnocentric categorization obscures the wealth and diversity of cultural experiences. There are two entirely different groupings that can be divided between the firstgeneration immigrants and the generations that follow. The context of the British South Asian label for immigrants is largely a geographical statement pertaining to their origin and current residence in Britain. But the label has a more in-depth meaning for British-born South Asians, as it symbolically represents their identity, that is, a hybrid of both cultures (Hussain, 2005). This hybrid identity does not have to be a negative phenomenon. Both Hall (2000) and Brah (1996) point to the possibility of the co-existence of two identities, rather than the suppression of or the loss of one alongside the other. The experience of second-generation Indians and Pakistanis mean that they frequently neither fit into the ethnic parental culture nor into the majority British culture. However, they are not in what Anwar referred to as a ‘vacuum’, but form their own social group (Anwar, 1998). If people ‘feel themselves’ to be similar to each other and distinct from others in certain ways, they may properly be considered an ethnic group (Tajfel, 1978). This new ethnic grouping is appropriately defined and contextualized within the British South Asian group. The second generation is thus bound together by their own culture and their own identity that is specific to them. Like the first-generation South Asians, the second generation also found themselves bound together by a common fate and common experiences, including those of social discrimination and social disadvantage. British Asians are separate from both their parents’ and the majority culture; they have in a sense created a new group identity. Americans take pride in their notion of hyphenated nationality, not only asserting their Americanness, but claiming an ethnic identity within the framework of a common nationality; however, for Britons, it is different. Modood (1992) discusses the difference between British identity and American identity, claiming that ‘British’ is in contrast a term closely identified with ‘whiteness’, such that it


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therefore excludes other ethnic terms. Nevertheless, the hyphenated identity also works for those individuals born in Britain, and from a different background. In this context the idea of Britishness is not fixed or identified with a narrow set of ethnicities such as English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish, but also highlights the grounds of commonality, past and present, of ethnic minorities, as well as their contributions (Modood, 1992). The concept of Britishness has been moulded to fit into the needs of ethnic minorities; it makes reference to a common citizenship, in terms of the same nation-state or commonality. The hyphenated identity becomes expressive of commonality and national loyalty that serves as a symbol of belonging. This ‘hybridity’ has been discussed as a predominantly problematic situation. In the 1960, for example, apprehension mounted in regard to black youth in England, and this has subsequently been expressed in some academic studies of young South Asian people (Ghuman, 1994; Kalra, 1980; Wade and Souter, 1992; Webster, 1997). These issues, specific to second- and third-generation British Asians, have mainly been explained by attributing them to the effects of ‘inter-generational’ conflict as a traumatic clash between immigrants and their children. The inevitable internalization of Western values which are at variance with the traditional worldview of their parents is described in extremes. This continues to run through some academic discussions (for example, Ghuman, 1994; Goodey, 2001; Joly, 1995; Kalra, 1980; Wade and Souter, 1992; Webster, 1997), as well as media treatment of issues such as forced marriages, honour killings and suicides. Our point is not that these things do not take place, but that the ways in which they are discussed in the media frames them purely in terms of an image of South Asian cultures and religions as fixed, unchanging and fundamentally alien, thus obscuring the real and complex processes behind these issues (Ahmad, 2006). From the perspective of the first-generation South Asians, their experiences of prejudice and discrimination, and the intimidation they feel when their minority status is enforced and reinforced through the immigration process, have created a need to preserve their own culture. The customs and practices of the host country are not well known to the parental generation, therefore the reiteration of belief in old traditions and the re-establishment of these within the household are important (Afshar, 1989). The environment and the upbringing of the children have been different from those familiar to the parent. Whilst the second generation may reject some of the cultural norms of their parents, they will equally strongly reject the discrimination they face within Western society. Differences between the immigrant ‘British South Asian’ and the second generation arise from exposure to the integrating services of the majority society from birth. Experience of the education system and the employment sphere influences their attitudes and relationships. Looking at the former, the education system stresses the ethnocentric values of the dominant culture. The child is confronted with both cultures at the same time and begins to absorb very different values of family life and society. Although British Asians experience continuing social discrimination and social disadvantage, having been educated alongside their white and black colleagues, they expect equal rights within the majority culture. Their attempts to compete are stronger than were those of their parents. In acknowledging Britain as

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their home, they are cultivating their own distinct values, interests, meanings and ambitions within English society. These minority individuals are, however, assigned an identity that fails to conform to their own individual identity. Personal identification is largely influenced by being identified by others as a member of a particular group. The external criteria for measuring one’s ethnic identity are rooted in establishing that ethnic identity is a component of a person’s self-definition, which is derived from an affiliation with a specific group. Furthermore, ethnic identity is defined as a process of self-definition derived directly from what was given at birth, in terms of a race, a language, a culture, as well as relationships with other groups in society (Hutnik, 1991). Looking first at the external criteria envisaged and imposed by British culture, it uses subjective characteristics such as stereotypes and belief systems to designate membership of a minority. The majority culture imposes an identity on the offspring of South Asian immigrants that is synonymous with the ethnic culture of the parents. Their self-definition is derived from their parents’ identity. Even the minority culture ‘imposes’ an identity on second-generation individuals by treating the individual as part of the culture they have attempted to re-embed within Britain. They are not denied in their own terms but in terms implicitly adopted or explicitly dictated by the majority. Alternatively, there are those individuals whose notion of home is the country of origin. Often the notion of homeland becomes idealized, becoming a ‘mythical haven’ (Afshar, 1989). Living in a country where racism makes many young South Asian individuals feel like second-class citizens, the notion of belonging to a homeland in which they belong to a wealthier group and have a high status becomes something of great value and comfort. The value of the term diaspora increases as its symbolic character is understood by the majority culture, in terms of individual, literary, scientific and social contributions to society. However, this value of diaspora points to the fact that there cannot be a pure, uncontaminated or essential South Asian culture. It is changing, and this change is inevitable. The first generation often attempts to articulate Asianness as a homogenous condition, and some try to seek a dubious comfort in the belief of an eternal ethnic identity which is fixed. They are trying to create and harness a sense of sameness that does not exist, despite their attempts to manufacture it through notions of unity, and often by imposing this unity on their children. The traumas of migration, dispersal and exile from their native country became important forces in the formation of subsequent social and political relations (Gilroy, 2002). Ethnic, Cultural and Religious Identities Our respondents expressed their identification with British citizenship in the light of how they made sense of their ethnic and religious culture within the broader British culture. Even though the younger generation expressed strong identity claims as British citizens, they wish to celebrate their ethnic, cultural and religious differences, which are distinct from those of the wider society (Modood, Beishon and Virdee, 1994). Although citizenship and identity are often seen to be in conflict with one


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another, for our respondents they were able to accommodate the universalism of citizenship claims with the particularism of their ethnic identities. Thus citizenship, as our respondents expressed it, was a component or aspect of a broader hybridized ethnic and religious expression. Defining ethnicity carries with it notions of language, culture, religion, nationality and a shared heritage (Fenton, 1999; Modood, Beishon and Virdee, 1994; Song, 2003). It is increasingly recognized as a political symbol that does not just exclude, but also serves as a mode of identity, a symbol of belonging and political mobilization (Werbner, 1990; Song, 2003). Ethnic identities remained ambivalent as many second-generation people identified with being ‘British’ as well as being ‘Pakistani’ or ‘Muslim’: but this was also connected to being excluded: I would never say I am English because I am not … You have to look at what makes up that identity being Muslim how many times do you hear about Britain accepting Muslims as part of their community (Khalid Hussain, 30, male).

Here we can see how ethnic minority people’s adoption of ‘English’ or ‘British’ identities remains complex, because of their racialized nature, European heritage, connotations of ‘whiteness’ and the colonial legacy (Ahmad and Husband, 1993). However, the second and subsequent generations also challenged such racialized constructions of Britishness in contrast to their parent’s generation. Their sense of Britishness was often a pragmatic reflection of being born and living in Britain. Young people, however, found identification with Britishness as particularly meaningful. For our respondents, the reservations and negative experiences enhanced the young people’s sense of Britishness as citizens. To this extent, external factors influence the young person’s sense of ‘ethnicity’. The different experiences of white British society of younger South Asians, as opposed to first-generation migrants, was a central theme in several initial commentaries on the riots of 2001 (Amin, 2002: 964; Kalra, 2002: 25; Kundnani, 2001: 108). Socialization into cultural and religious values, against the backdrop of a potentially hostile majority culture, is a major concern of minority ethnic groups (Ahmad, 1996; Anthias, 1992; Modood, Beishon and Virdee, 1994). For us this is important because this hostility throws into question their citizenship. Although young South Asian people identify strongly with Britain as citizens, this is constantly negated by their experiences of British racism which has focused on their ethnicity, but especially since 2001 has focused upon Muslims. The separation of an idealized notion of Islam from lived religion, perceived to be corrupted through conflation with traditional customs, is important (Mumtaz and Shaheed, 1987; Ahmed, 1988). This reflects a wider process where religion has risen in importance as a distinct aspect of identity (Ahmed and Donnon, 1994; Hussain and Bagguley, 2007; Jacobson, 1997; Samad, 1992; Werbner, 2000). For our discussion, one development is significant in this regard; the re-imagining of Islam as a global religion (Ahmed and Donnon, 1994). Islam offers an important mode of being for young Pakistani people living in Britain, but in the context of their identities as British citizens. No young person that we interviewed was totally detached from their parents’ ethnic, religious and cultural traditions. Their lives as British citizens were overwhelmingly influenced by their religion, which is at the core of their lives. Most

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young South Asian people know enough about religious and cultural values both to feel that they belong to their religious community and to behave ‘appropriately’ (Atkin and Hussain, 2003). Second and subsequent generations of Muslims are thus reclaiming their religious identity and rediscovering Islam. Their ability to read English fluently allows them to research in the dominant tongue, the language of the web and text books. This diasporic awareness is reconfirming their religious roots as much as their cultural roots, and some made subtle distinctions between them: ‘we are British Pakistanis now and we are in a culture not in a religion no more. We are looking at things culturally’ (Serena Khan, 19, female). Consequently, for the Pakistanis there have always been conflicts of identity, most particularly between religion and citizenship in the context of Islamophobia, and here our younger respondents especially emphasized the responses to the riots and then a totally unrelated event, the attack on the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001. In this context, the BNP has focused its attention on Muslims. This and the broader Islamophobic response did not go without comment: ‘… if you are Muslim then people don’t want to know you and with all the propaganda to do with Islam at the moment’ (Alisah Khaleeq, 38, female). As we saw in previous chapters, they also related experiences of public harassment, and the consequent feelings of exclusion from Britain. Although they feel themselves to be British citizens, Islamophobia has excluded them from the ‘British nation’ but not from their identification with British citizenship. A sense of difference, enforced by racism and discrimination, thus remains an important influence on how South Asian people make sense of their lives. Substantive citizenship rights are often denied to minority ethnic groups (Castles and Davidson, 2000). Racism can, therefore, be an important influence on young people’s sense of identity. As well as offering a form of self-identification, a symbol of belonging and mobilization (Samad, 1992), cultural reproduction also has a wider political significance, resisting exclusion. In the context of the riots of 2001, this was illustrated in the accounts given by some young people in relation to the earlier riots in Burnley and Oldham, and others mentioned the way in which the riot was for ‘people like them’, a kind of expression of ethnic solidarity in the face of the threat of the far right: They weren’t just there for themselves, they were there for the whole Asian population of Bradford (Shabnam Ishaq, 21, female). … we have mothers, daughters, sisters, you know and we want to protect them, so it was like we don’t really want to cause a riot but we want to protect ourselves at the same time. So I think peoples were thinking I am not going to let them come into my area, into my homes, so they all decided to go into town and stop it (Kamran and Omar, 19 and 20, males).

Citizenship of the formal kind cannot prevent ethnic boundaries being constructed, racism cannot be eradicated through citizenship and nor does being a citizen automatically mean that the ‘social cohesion’ sought by the government (Cantle, 2001) can be achieved.


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Denizens and Citizens: Generational Differences in Citizenship Identities The meaning of citizenship differs between the generations. For the first generation, citizenship is embedded within their physical state of being resident in Britain. They are just ‘denizens’, and this status is entwined within their historical ‘value’ within the economic infrastructure of the country, yet is dominated by an overwhelmingly low sense of security within the country. This has been discussed within the citizenship literature as the status of being a ‘denizen’ (Castles and Davidson, 2000). Our respondents were able to distinguish quite distinct citizenship identities linked to generation and country of birth. The younger generation born here were seen by themselves, and felt by their parents, to be British citizens with the same ‘rights’ as any other British citizen. The older generation express what we would term ‘denizen identities’; they feel that their presence in Britain is not one of a citizenship ‘right’, and consequently the younger generation see them, and the first-generation migrants feel themselves, as not having a legitimate voice. They feel that they lack the ‘full citizenship’ of their sons and daughters and the political rights associated with it. They fear deportation, and this expresses the core of being a ‘denizen’. Language is central to these differences. The citizenship identities of the first generation are interwoven with their experience of migration, settlement and language. The acquisition of the English language is something which they may not have accessed fully, but for the second generation it provides a means of upward mobility. Skin colour and physical characteristics are not the only means of identifying difference; lack of fluency in English can also give rise to racism and negative stereotyping. These attributes become a means of separating ‘the alien’ from ‘the mainstream’, encouraging social conformity and invisibility, loss of self-respect and feelings of insecurity (Kershen, 2000). However, for the second generation, their education has enabled them to overcome this, with their bilingualism creating a different relationship with white society. We can all speak English … we went to school here, we can speak English and if we get married, we have children, they will be able to speak English cos they are gonna be brought up in English schools (Shabnam Ishaq, 21, female).

Thus language gives them the link to British social institutions and an access to a British identity of citizenship that their parents lacked, and the older respondents recognized this as well, where Ramzan Latif (64, male) argued that the relationships between the Pakistani community and the white community will improve because: ‘… our children now regard English as their mother tongue, things will improve because they are able to communicate better than we were able to’. These themes about language also emerged when we asked people about why the older generation had not rioted in the past: Nowadays, youngsters like to take their own stand and take matters into their own hands. A lot of people before did not have the education or the language to let their voice be heard, but now the youngsters, they were born in Britain. They are aware of the law, the education scheme and the language as well. They are able to speak English and present their cases (Serena Khan, 19, female).

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That the feeling of citizenship and the closely related belief in ‘rights’ has changed over generations was also widely recognized by our older first-generation respondents; for Javed Ahmed (47, male): the second and third generation, these girls and boys … they were born in this country, they were brought up in this society, they are full-fledged British youngsters, you know. They believe that this is their country. They have got every right. So they are not going to keep quiet and face all the discrimination or insults.

However, the views of the older generation about the second and third generation’s citizenship were more often tinged with moral concerns that they were abusing their citizenship, that they were being ‘bad’ citizens: They are exactly the same as the white people; they have no tolerance at all. Whatever the white people are doing, Asians are doing also and that is why there is a major difference. The Asian youths believe that this is their country and they should be given the same rights as the white people have. They do not want to tolerate anything anymore. They believe that they are just as much British as the British are (Ramzan Latif, 64, male).

The younger generation also talked about differences in perceptions of homeland, and the way in which their parents initially felt that their stay here was temporary. Their parents came primarily for economic reasons. Yet for the second and subsequent generations, the situation is different. The ideas of belonging, migration and citizenship rights were linked together by some second-generation respondents. These emphasized the significance to them of their birth in Britain, and how that shaped both their identities as citizens, and how they felt about where they belonged in comparison to the identities and feeling of national belonging among their parents, who saw themselves as ‘outsiders’. As Kamran and Omar (19 and 20, males) explained: We have been born and grown up, we have more or less decided that this is our home and that it is not back in Pakistan. So we see it as in 30 years’ time, 40 years’ time, we’ll still be here and our parents didn’t think of that.

This has also made the individuals more secure about their positioning, according to Shabnam (21, female): Like a lot of people are established and they are secure now. The security is there now because they know there are a lot of Asian people here now. Whereas then there was one Asian family here, one Asian family there. The population of Asians has grown and so I think there is more strength within the population now.

The older first generation, in contrast, felt that they were still living ‘in a foreign country’. Although none expressed definite plans to return to Pakistan, this was an issue that they talked about. What was keeping them in Britain was that their children were born here and the ties of kinship were paramount for them. The theme of being in a ‘foreign country’, but not really belonging, of feeling that they were still ‘visitors’ was also central to their criticisms of the 2001 rioters. This expressed the insecurity


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born of their experiences of migration, increasingly restrictive immigration laws and their identities as ‘denizens’. In no sense did they express a feeling of belonging in Britain, but only belonging with their families: They want us to leave the country. If they were to compensate us for how long we have worked in this country, then I would willingly go back. However, I am happy here, my children are here, their partners and their children are here. It’s just like living in Pakistan with all my extended family here. We don’t go out to cause trouble and so far we have had none in return (Ramzan Latif, 64, male).

Conclusion: Belonging but Excluded? The identity of ‘British citizenship’ is articulated through the themes of ‘belonging’ and ‘rights’, and moreover these rights are expressed in egalitarian terms. Their British identities express a hybridity of universality and difference. A universality of equal rights as British citizens, with the right to be different within Britain, and a recognition of the difference of Islam. Their claims to difference, however, are circumscribed within the citizenship of being British that Islam should be recognized, accepted and tolerated rather than vilified and constructed as alien. It belongs in Britain as much as any other religion. These expressions of a citizenship of belonging are in contrast to some of the official political responses to the riots and how they constructed notions of citizenship based upon language and allegiance to ‘nation’ that we consider in the following chapter (Cantle, 2001; Denham, 2002; Kalra, 2002). What is being expressed is not so much a contest between identity and citizenship or difference and universalism, but rather a political contest over citizenship. British Pakistani people’s citizenship identities and claims are diverse and not uniform; in particular they vary between first-generation migrants and those born here. The first generation still speak as if they are visitors, as temporary economic migrants. The second generation ‘belong’ through their place of birth. Furthermore, the identities of the second generation are hybridized, synthesizing South Asian culture, Islam and Western culture within their identities as British citizens. Nowhere could this be clearer than in their enthusiasm for English football, combined with their pride in Islam and as Pakistanis, whilst asserting their rights as British citizens. Whilst they articulate their ethnic distinctiveness, they do so through asserting their ‘universal’ rights through being British. Whilst the citizenship identities we have analysed here for the first generation are rooted in their experiences of migration, and those of the second generation are rooted in their experiences of growing up in the UK, both have been expressed in response to the mobilizations of the BNP. The expression of ‘denizen’ identities by the first generation, and the associated lack of feeling secure in Britain, has been a response to the BNP and a wider response to the riots. In contrast, the second generation responded to the BNP mobilization through a strong assertion of identity as British citizens. In this sense, citizenship identities are best thought of as resources that were mobilized in response to the BNP mobilization. However, we would suggest that these assertions of citizenship identity are not specific to Bradford or other riot

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locations, but through the media attention given to these events, they might well be found among South Asians across Britain. Political and social theories of citizenship place too much emphasis upon integration, uniformity and commonality. In contrast, we have emphasized how people think about and identify their own citizenship. In recent debates about citizenship and identity, this has been all too frequently ignored. Consequently, we have been concerned with citizenship as a political identity, that is not fixed or essentialized, but which flows through the process of hybridization that characterizes the new ethnic identities that are being constructed among younger South Asians in Britain today. When people make statements about British citizenship, they are expressing quite fundamental ideas about where they belong, about who they are and what rights they have. In this context these rights entail duties and obligations from the state and others towards them as British citizens. Feeling that they belong but perceiving that others – the dominant white population – do not yet fully accept that they belong here, and that they are British, is central. Our second-generation respondents already feel themselves to be part of the national community at the level of their identities as citizens, but they do not feel themselves to be British in the conventional sense of national identity. National identity and citizenship identity are not the same thing. Our respondents did not express any strong demands for ‘group rights’. Even recognition of Islam was limited to claims for tolerance and freedom from harassment. This is a demand for recognition rather than integration. In this sense, difference is to be accommodated within the idea of equal rights.

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Chapter 9

The Emergence of Community Cohesion Introduction One of the most enduring legacies of the 2001 riots is most likely to be the emergence of the official discourse and policy of ‘community cohesion’. The riots triggered a major shift in government public discourse around race, ethnicity, religion, national identity and citizenship. Following the terrorist attacks on New York in September 2001 and London in July 2005, the stakes in this were further heightened. Implicated in this debate has been a wholesale rejection of the discourse of multiculturalism. In this chapter we consider the emergence of this discourse in some detail and try to map some of its effects. However, precisely what consequences it then has for policy and practice is not entirely clear, and it is not our purpose to track either the evolution of the policy especially in relation to wider issues such as security (Eatwell, 2006), nor specific areas of policy such as housing (Harrison et al., 2005). Our purpose is more limited to understanding the origins of this discourse and its unfolding logics. Whilst this is important in its own right, we feel that this exercise is still necessary as the account presented in the reports has been accepted in some academic quarters (Burgess, Wilson and Lupton, 2005) as a factually verified account of the causes of the riots! Despite the emphasis given to ‘institutional racism’ during the 1990s (Back et al., 2002; Shukra et al., 2004), it is strikingly absent from the official reports into the 2001 riots. These reports, like other instances of contemporary governance (Schofield, 2002), have mobilized the discourses of community in support of government goals. Whilst the principal policy responses to the riots of the 1980s were dominated by a ‘law and order’ discourse (Solomos and Rackett, 1991), we find that the response to the riots of 2001 has explicitly rejected this: ‘While there is no doubt that both drug abuse, and drug dealing, are serious problems, the claim that drug related activity played a significant part in the disturbances was not supported by either the police, or by the local Drug Action Teams’ (Denham, 2002: 9). Here we wish to build upon and develop the critical analyses of the discourse of community cohesion that has been broached elsewhere (Burnett, 2004; Kalra, 2002; McGhee, 2003; Robinson, 2005; Worley, 2005). ‘Race’, Ethnicity and the Discourse of Community Cohesion: Theoretical Issues There is now a substantial body of work on governmentality, and analyses of New Labour’s ideologies of community cohesion, community, and so on (for example,


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Fairclough, 2000; Finlayson, 2003; Schofield, 2002; Walters, 2002). However, where we wish to advance these debates is to emphasize how ‘New Labour’ discourses of community are racialized in particular ways. Within the governmentality literature that deals with New Labour, there is a striking silence on questions of ethnic identity, and the racialized assumptions encoded within it. Whilst the Foucauldians (for example, Rose, 1999) have analysed in a rather general way the discourses, practices and effects of neo-liberal governmentality, they have neglected the play of ethnic difference through these discourses, thus reproducing the essentialism of neo-liberalism itself. What runs through the discourse of the official reports is an essentializing and reifying account that is expressed through the deployment of concepts like ‘community cohesion’, ‘social capital’, and so on. Put more directly, they have produced a racialized narrative of the riots that connects to a series of policies where they can be ‘seen to be doing something’ about the events of the summer of 2001. A further problem with the Foucauldian analyses is that despite their claims as to the open, provisional, performative, and so on, character of the discourses and practices of neo-liberal governance (for example, Schofield, 2002), there is surprisingly little analysis of precisely this aspect. If such governmentality is so provisional, where are the competing definitions of reality within it? It is presented as too homogenous, as too dominating. Several official reports were produced on the riots, and they are not reducible to a single discourse. The discourse of community cohesion is best thought of as having polyvocal sources. The theme of segregation that has become so central to populist, political and subsequent policy debates emerged from a variety of sources within the debates about the causes of the riots. Some of this was in the media, and in particular the consideration of the situation in Oldham and the discussions about ‘no-go’ areas and similar myths (Eatwell, 2003: 73). As the Oldham disturbances took place when Parliament was in recess due to the general election, there was no formal debate about them. However, the issue of segregation was introduced into parliamentary debate about the Burnley disorders by David Lidington, the Conservative MP for Aylesbury and the then opposition spokesperson on Home Office matters. His question was received favourably by John Denham who suggested that these issues should be addressed at the local level: Mr David Lidington (Aylesbury): Will the Minister consider, as part of his reflections on the events of the weekend, some of the reports that de facto segregation of Asian and white neighbourhoods in Burnley has helped some of the problems to emerge, with people from different communities not mixing because they do not live in the same neighbourhoods? Mr Denham: If there are issues in Burnley or elsewhere relating to where local communities live, those are precisely the sorts of issues that must be addressed in the short, medium and long term through the discussions that should take place at local level (Hansard, 25 June 2001: Column 388).

However, the significance of segregation and how to address it was by no means clearly established in the parliamentary debates at the time of the riots. Whilst there was a broad political consensus about the negative features of segregation, there

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was a striking lack of clarity and reluctance to be specific about policy proposals at this stage. The breadth of the consensus and the lack of clarity are both illustrated in the following exchange between Teddy Taylor, the right-wing Conservative MP, and David Blunkett in the debate in Parliament about the Bradford disturbances on 10 July 2001: Sir Teddy Taylor (Rochford and Southend East): As 34 of the 36 persons who were arrested were effectively local residents, are we not in danger of misleading ourselves by thinking that the prime responsibility lies with troublemakers from outside? Would it not be better for the Home Secretary to think carefully about the fact that, in all areas of Britain and the world where people are effectively segregated on the basis of religion, nationality or colour, there is always the potential for violence? All the Government’s efforts should be aimed at trying to integrate the societies and stop having areas that are inhabited by one race or another race. Mr Blunkett: I understand the Hon. Gentleman’s intention, which is being expressed more broadly at the moment, including in Herman Ouseley’s report, but, as I have said, the question is how to achieve that aim. Those who have come into the country over the years – be they Jewish, Chinese, Irish, or latterly from the Caribbean, Pakistan, Bangladesh or India – have inevitably come together with family and cultural friends in the initial stages of their integration into society. It is difficult to break that up, given the availability of specific housing and support services. We all want to ensure that there is true integration, in which people understand cultural differences and diversity and the strength that they bring; but achieving that is another matter (Hansard: 10 July 2001: Column 669).

There was thus a remarkable elective affinity between populist media reports as to segregation being the ‘cause’ of the riots, some intellectual trends around the importance of community cohesion and social capital for the quality of life in urban neighbourhoods, certain themes in the Ouseley Report and a striking cross-party consensus on the issue of segregation. The product of these disparate themes was the emergence of the community cohesion agenda. The intellectual input is quite clear. The Cantle Report in particular highlighted ideas on community cohesion from Canada (Cantle, 2001: 69), whilst the idea about their expression locally in connection with social capital was based upon a discussion by Forrest and Kearns (2001). As Robinson (2005) has noted, all of this resonated nicely with the New Labour preoccupations with communitarianism. There has been relatively little analysis of the phenomenon of New Labour and racism (Back et al., 2002; Shukra et al., 2004). However, both the general discussions of Back et al. (2002) and the more particular analyses of the emergent discourse of community cohesion (Burnett, 2004; Kalra, 2002; Kundnani, 2007; McGhee, 2003) have identified a tension between a ‘hard line’ on immigration, and asylum combined with attacks on institutional racism in the police force as illustrated in the Macpherson Report, and new progressive race relations legislation in the form of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act of 2000. However, since the 2001 riot there has been a shift away from multiculturalism and ethnic diversity in New Labour discourse. This has been replaced by an atavistic assimilationism that demands integration in a way that is reminiscent of the failed policies of the 1950s and 1960s. We are confronted by a contradictory mix of valuing diversity and opposing racism


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combined with policies restricting the movement of refugees. This is linked to New Labour’s ambivalence about Britain’s national identity as a post-colonial power and its liberal opposition to social injustice. New Labour’s concern with local solutions to social problems and self-government has shifted social regulation from the central state and on to local communities and individuals (Back et al., 2002). Linked to communitarian ideologies (Fairclough, 2000; McGhee, 2003), we shall see how these ideas structure the discourse of the reports into community cohesion. As Back et al. (2002: 453) conclude: ‘Despite New Labour’s gestures towards cultural diversity and inclusion its body politic beats to the rhythm of a white heart.’ Let us now see how this white heart pumps the life through the discourses of community cohesion. The Official Reports: An Overview Immediately after the Bradford riot, a report on ‘race relations’ in Bradford by Ouseley (2001) was published. Although the work and writing on this report was completed before the riot, certain themes within it contributed to the agenda of the riot reports. In particular, the report identified residential segregation as a particular issue facing Bradford. In this sense the report helped to set the agenda and focus for the subsequent reports. The first of these that we are principally concerned with here is the report by Denham (2002), Building Cohesive Communities, which arose from a Ministerial Group on Public Order, coordinated by the Home Office. Closely associated with this was the report by Cantle (2002), Community Cohesion, which was produced by a supposedly independent Community Cohesion Review Team (CCRT). A tension runs through this report between assertions of ‘common values’ and ‘valuing difference’, between a static traditionalist conception of ‘common values’ and the dynamic nature of cultural identities, especially for first- and secondgeneration South Asians. The Cantle Report avoids analysing why the riots occurred; it avoids ‘political’ questions and focuses on the ‘management’ of cohesion. The central idea is that cohesion can be achieved through the correct application of the right managerial techniques with the properly defined aims and objectives. The Denham and Cantle Reports are thus part of the same administrative process, and were concerned with defining the policy agenda in response to the riots from within the specific remit of the Home Office. The Ritchie (2001) Report on the situation in Oldham, although funded by the Home Office, differs from the Cantle Report in a number of respects. There is less emphasis on the discourses of community cohesion, social capital, and so on, and more emphasis on evidence about economic and social conditions, and the impact of local policies in relation to housing, education, and so on. In addition, rather more emphasis is given to white racism. However, like the other reports, it does not seek to analyse the riot in any detail, but rather focuses upon the wider social and economic context. Whilst this might be seen as a laudable aim, it has the practical effect that what happened in the riot is not really examined at all. No evidence is presented and the causal connections between the wider economic and social context and the riot

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are assumed rather than demonstrated.1 This is a common feature of the reports. They construct issues that can be ‘managed’. The riots themselves are depoliticized, and reduced to criminal justice questions, a feature that they share with policy responses to the riots of the1980s (Keith, 1991; Solomos and Rackett, 1991). In contrast to these, the Report of the Burnley Task Force (Clarke, 2002) was commissioned locally, and on several key points it differs markedly from the reports commissioned by the Home Office. However, it shares many characteristics of those closer to the Home Office. The aim was to seek explanations for the riot, and seek broader policy changes in Burnley’s local government (Clarke, 2002: 5). However, the analysis of what happened over the weekend of 23 June is limited to just over two pages of an 87-page report. Most critically, the report depoliticizes and tries to criminalize the riots: As a result of what I have heard, I am convinced that what was described as a ‘race riot’ was in fact a series of criminal acts, perpetrated by a relatively small number of people. Certainly racial intolerance played a significant role in those disturbances; the confrontations that took place were clearly identified as aggression and violence by both white people and those from the Asian Heritage communities. However, in my view, the label of ‘race riots’ does the people of Burnley a grave disservice (Chair’s introduction, Clarke, 2002: 8).

This is contrary to the Denham Report, which stated categorically that drug dealers were irrelevant. What is most distinctive about the Burnley Report is its emphasis on economic factors and on the limited resources of Burnley Borough Council and other public agencies in the area. The Denham Report identified a range of factors behind the riots including: deprivation, young men, racial, generational and cultural conflict, racial attacks and far-right activity (Denham, 2002: 8). However the discussion of these remains little more than a list and the motivations of those who participated remain unclear. Despite this list of factors and the stress on underlying factors and complexity, the central themes of the Denham Report are community cohesion and segregation. Although the report stresses that it drew upon the analyses of the Cantle, Clarke, Ouseley and Ritchie Reports (Denham, 2002: 11), it clearly attempts to incorporate all of the reports into the dominant Home Office discourse of community cohesion, versus segregation. Segregation: Constructing the Dysfunctional Community The issue of residential segregation has become central to the reports, media representations and popular understandings of the causes of the riots (Burnett, 2004; Kalra, 2002). The binary opposition between community cohesion and 1 Oldham Council published a lengthy (187 pages!) response to the Ritchie Report. In particular, the council emphasized economic inequalities within Oldham and rejected the Ritchie report’s focus on ethnic segregation. This entailed criticism of the Ritchie Report’s methodology (for instance, criticizing its use of a self-selected sample of the public to gauge public opinion).


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segregation has become the dominant frame through which the riots are now read, with segregation seen as exemplifying a dysfunctional community. The theme of segregation organizes several other ‘racialised’ themes of the Home Office reports such as language use. Much of what is claimed about segregation contradicts recent academic debates (ODPM, 2003; Phillips, Davis and Ratcliffe, 2007; Simpson, 2003). The Denham Report cites Ouseley on the role of residential segregation, and highlights lack of fluency in English as a reason why ethnic minority people may choose particular places to live, suggesting that: ‘… geographical segregation is likely to contribute to a lack of opportunity for different communities to meet, to have a dialogue and work together’ (Denham, 2002: 13). Underlying the idea of segregation as a ‘dysfunctional community’ and its causal role in the riot is a romantic view of the village community where people live, work and interact in the same small location. One of the central features of contemporary post-industrial cities is precisely that residence, employment and leisure are not spatially coterminous (Amin and Thrift, 2002). Whilst highlighting segregation based on ethnicity, they ignore segregation based upon class. No evidence or measures of segregation are presented. Central to Ritchie’s analysis is the way in which the report constructs the ‘problem’ in terms of ‘segregation’ as opposed to ‘community cohesion’. The report argues that this is to be explained by: ‘… the preferences both within the indigenous and Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities of people “to live with their own kind”’ (Ritchie, 2001: 9). Segregation is seen as being reinforced by marriages between South Asians in Oldham and those born in Pakistan or Bangladesh (Ritchie, 2001: 10). In this way the ‘blame’ for the ‘dysfunctional community’ is put on South Asian communities and their supposedly characteristic cultural practices. Consequently, it is argued that: Many youngsters reach school with limited if any command of English and the school environment which, for the children of early immigrants provided plenty of exposure to English spoken by fellow, white pupils, no longer has this effect in what are substantially segregated schools (Ritchie, 2001: 11).

Despite the claim that Oldham is the ‘most segregated town in England’ (Ritchie, 2001: 16), there was no attempt to measure segregation in comparison to other localities.2 This construction of segregation as ‘pathological’ persists throughout the Ritchie Report, despite the fact that the Commission for Racial Equality found that the local authority’s housing allocations and local estate agents were discriminating against South Asian families (Ritchie, 2001: 17), and that: ‘The fear of racial attack and harassment for some BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) communities remains a strong and pervasive incentive for clustering’ (Ritchie, 2001: 20). Similarly, Cantle suggests that whilst there are degrees and levels of integration and segregation, the report argues that there is no contact between communities in 2 On page 75 of the Ritchie Report (2001), data is presented on the ethnic origins of the population for local authority wards in 1991. None of these wards has a combined ethnic minority population of more than 38 per cent. In each ward, then, there were clear and substantial majorities of white people.

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some instances. No evidence is provided for this claim. There is some discussion of segregation by choice as opposed to economic constraint, and some choices, related to worship, for instance, are seen as legitimate. Overall, extreme segregation is seen as a ‘fact’, despite no evidence being presented, and there is a fear of more ‘monocultural’ schools developing (Cantle, 2001: 28–9). This could only mean more schools consisting solely of South Asian pupils, since there would also be fewer 100 per cent white schools. White-only schools are generally not seen as problematic in cultural terms (despite a passing critical reference to Church of England schools). In short ‘mono-cultural’ is a code for ‘South Asian’. The report suggests that segregation is no longer a ‘necessity’ for ethnic minorities on the grounds that they cluster together to develop specialist services and shops, because: ‘… major supermarkets now supply wide ranges of ingredients and ready meals from around the world and Bollywood films can be seen in mainstream cinemas, which indicates the mainstreaming of a number of specialist services’ (Cantle, 2001: 59). Whilst the other reports stress residential segregation, the Report on Burnley emphasizes employment segregation. In this case the concern with housing is not one of segregation, but with its material and economic condition. However, labour market segmentation is criticized on the basis of hearsay evidence: ‘It has been argued that statutory and voluntary organizations have contributed to racial segregation through their employment policies’ (Clarke, 2002: 47). Furthermore, the report notes the lack of any ‘… truly multicultural structure that allows people from all sections of the community to interact with each other’ (Clarke, 2002: 51). In relation to Bradford, recent research concludes that: ‘Increasing residential segregation of South Asian communities is a myth’ (Simpson, 2003: 668). Whilst more neighbourhoods (Census enumeration districts of between 100 and 200 households) have South Asian majorities, others have become more mixed, and fewer are overwhelmingly white. Overall Simpson found that there were fewer ‘mono-racial’ areas in 2001 than in 1991, whilst the favoured index of segregation was 0.74 in 1991 and 0.75 in 2001 (Simpson, 2003: 671). In national terms, then, Bradford has a relatively high but stable level of overall segregation, but it is not a polarizing city with ‘ghettoes’. In summary, the reports have constructed segregation as pathological as evidence of a ‘dysfunctional community’, in contrast to the ‘integrated community’ characterized by community cohesion. They present no evidence regarding segregation other than hearsay, and do not examine its causes and consequences in any detail. The theme of segregation directs attention away from economic inequalities (McGhee, 2003), and lets the authorities and especially the police off the hook for their share of the responsibility for the violence (Kalra, 2002: 22). This effectively shifts the blame for the riot, and the futile search for ultimate causes, onto South Asian communities themselves. It has been an effective exercise in the mobilization of community cohesion at the level of discourse for the purpose of de-politicization.


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Community Cohesion and Social Capital: Constructing Good Communities Social capital is a central theme that also runs through the reports’ accounts of community cohesion. Here social capital is understood as following Putnam as being reciprocal social networks based on trust (Cantle, 2001: 72). Volunteering is seen as central to high quality social capital, but the social capital of ethnic minority groups is defined as a social problem: There is evidence to suggest that a considerable amount of volunteering takes place within minority ethnic communities, usually through schools and religious activities. The problem, however, is that these activities tend to be for the benefit of others from the same ethnic group/community (Cantle, 2001: 72).

Social capital is seen as something to be ‘measured’, and the report identifies ‘… eight verifiable and quantitative domains of social capital…’ at the local neighbourhood level (Cantle, 2001: 73); these are empowerment; participation; associational activity; networks and reciprocity; collective norms and values; trust; safety; and belonging. In terms of examples and policies, these are reduced to ‘measurable outcomes’, where empowerment becomes ‘giving people a voice’; participation becomes ‘supporting local activities’; associational activity becomes supporting networks between organizations; supporting networks between individuals will be achieved through ‘good neighbour award schemes’. Collective norms and values will be an ‘ethos which residents recognize and accept’; trust is to be achieved by ‘bringing conflicting groups together’; safety will involve people in ‘local crime prevention’; and belonging will be achieved by ‘boosting the identity of a place via design, street furnishing and naming’ (Cantle, 2001: 73–4). In this way social capital has become a discourse and technique central to contemporary governmentality (McGhee, 2003; Walters, 2002). In the words of McGhee (2003: 393) it will involve ‘compulsory networking’. Overall, that lack of community cohesion is seen as the primary causal factor behind the problems facing these localities. In fact it is presented as leading to the economic decline that these places suffer from: ‘It is accepted that in societies where there is a high degree of community cohesion, there is greater economic growth and strong development. Areas lacking in cohesion are usually identified as economically deprived’ (Cantle, 2001: 75). The idea of a common ‘civic identity’ is central for the Denham Report as well, and from this flows a series of proposals about the need to unite ‘… people around a common sense of belonging regardless of race, culture or faith’ (Denham, 2002: Introduction). This would then become a means of ensuring that government polices are achieved: ‘Our central recommendation is the need to make community cohesion a central aim of Government, and to ensure that the design and delivery of all Government policy reflects this’ (Denham, 2002: Introduction). However, the terms and topics of this debate about community cohesion are predetermined. At this juncture, a connection is made in the reports between community cohesion and a particular view of citizenship: In an open and liberal democracy, citizenship is founded on fundamental human rights and duties. The laws, rules and practices that govern our democracy, uphold our commitment

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to the equal worth and dignity of all our citizens. We must tackle head on racism and Islamophobia. It will sometimes be necessary to confront cultural practices that conflict with these basic values, such as those, which deny women the right to participate as equal citizens. Similarly, it means ensuring that every individual has the wherewithal, such as the ability to speak English, to enable them to engage as active citizens in economic, social and political life. Common citizenship does not mean cultural uniformity. Our society is multicultural, and it is shaped by the interaction between people of diverse cultures. There is no single dominant and unchanging culture into which all must assimilate. The public realm is founded on negotiation and debate between competing viewpoints, at the same time as it upholds inviolable rights and duties. Citizenship means finding a common place for diverse cultures and beliefs, consistent with our core values (Denham, 2002: 20).

This encompasses so much that is problematic and contradictory in the Denham Report. Whilst emphasizing the importance of open debate, it is setting a very narrow agenda. The issues identified elsewhere as important as background factors to the riots, such as the ‘quasi-market’ in regeneration funds and the extreme deprivation, are off the agenda. Gender inequalities are mentioned, but apparently they only exist where there are ‘cultural practices that conflict with basic values’. Here the gender issues within the South Asian community are singled out, and the cultural practices of the community blamed, but gender inequalities in the white community do not get a mention. Whilst there is no ‘single dominant culture’, we all have to speak English. Here English as a language is constructed as the defining feature of a new national identity. Duties and responsibilities are central to this discourse, and the notion of duty is critical to its governmental aims. These entail ‘acting upon actors’ to make them responsible citizens. These themes also appear within the Ritchie Report. Again we find that there are those central themes of the discourse of community cohesion concerned with the management of people’s ‘attitudes’, and the need to change them: There is a willingness to put responsibility onto the shoulders of officialdom which too easily can be a reason for people not to shape up to their own responsibilities, beginning with their own attitudes. People must be prepared to look hard and honestly at these and where they need to change to decide to change them and then to do so (Ritchie, 2001: 4).

Community cohesion has thus become a political technology; a tool by which to manage an ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse population. It will become a means by which local populations will be assessed and measured: ‘We will need to establish how community cohesion might be measured in the future to establish both a baseline and to assess future progress’ (Denham, 2002: 21). It was proposed that community cohesion work should be mainstreamed: ‘… focusing activity under a range of different programmes so they mutually support community cohesion; ensuring that community cohesion issues are centre stage in their work with Local Strategic Partnerships’ (Denham, 2002: 26). However these ‘cohesive communities’ are to be self-creating, self-regulating entities because: ‘Government cannot create or impose community cohesion. It is something that communities must do themselves with Government’s help as enabler and supporter’ (Denham, 2002: 34).


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Cantle sees citizenship in the classic liberal terms of rights and responsibilities, which individuals should be required to affirm through a ‘statement of allegiance’ (Cantle, 2001: 46). Strikingly, the report never clearly specifies who should be required to express their allegiance. Again what is not stated in the report is as significant as what is explicit. The report starts out with the idea of ‘community cohesion’ (Cantle, 2001: 6), therefore immediately undermining the claims for ‘open-mindedness’ (Cantle, 2001: 5). This reveals the ways in which the report utilizes these ‘uncontroversial’ ideas to mobilize meaning in support of its narrative of the riots and their causes. This is a familiar use of the meaning of community in official discourses in that: ‘… what passes for “community” here needs to be viewed as a pragmatic, processual accomplishment that works by articulating discourse as a performative expression of the local and historical context’ (Schofield, 2002: 680). The discourse of community cohesion is largely absent from the Clarke Report on Burnley, but where it does appear, it is seen as being undermined by economic factors. This reverses the causal view presented in the other reports: ‘The collapse in the local housing market is, therefore increasing social exclusion, threatening community cohesion and demonstrably rendering some of the poorest communities even poorer after a decade of economic growth’ (Clarke, 2002: 45). In this section we have shown that there is no overarching dominant discourse running through all of the reports. The theme of community cohesion is central to them, but largely absent from the Clarke Report. Nevertheless, the reports do exhibit some broader themes of New Labour thinking. In particular links can be made with their ideological debt to communitarianism that has often been commented upon by others (Back et al., 2002; Fairclough, 2000: 37–43; McGhee, 2003: 381–2; Robinson, 2005). Linguistic Communities as Racialized Identities One of the striking features of the discourses in the Home Office reports is the emphasis placed upon the English language as a marker of ‘English’ or ‘British’ identity. More broadly, this has become connected to a wider debate about immigration control and the formal requirements for British citizenship. Language in these contexts is constructed as the primary referent for national and white identities. In this way it defines what it means to be British in a culturally racist exclusionary manner. South Asian languages are constructed as a threat to community cohesion as they are outside of the white British norm. This lends weight to the implication that South Asian languages, cultures and communities are a threat to whiteness and the nation. Language is also seen as a part of a circuit of racial segregation. It is presented as the cause and consequence of segregation. South Asian communities are seen as naturally segregating themselves, as they prefer to live close to others who speak the same language. This is reproduced in the second generation who are raised in these linguistically alien environments, going on to attend schools which are linguistically foreign to the English-speaking education system. In this way language is used to specifically racialize and pathologize South Asian communities. Those who have English as their second language are presented as being educationally disadvantaged

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and potentially economically unproductive as a result. For all practical purposes, the non-English-speaking peoples are presented as a threat to the nation, economically, culturally and politically. As the Cantle report argues: ‘… we would expect the new values to contain statements about the expectation that the use of English language, which is already a pre-condition of citizenship, (or a commitment to become fluent within a period of time) will become more rigorously pursued, with appropriate support’ (Cantle, 2001: 19). These are expectations that have since come to fruition in the form of new tests for citizenship. The Ritchie Report emphasizes the cultural diversity of Oldham, but contrasts the African-Caribbean community with the South Asian communities in Oldham, seeing the African-Caribbean community as ‘integrated’, accepted by and ‘living on good terms’ with the white community, despite facing hostility and racism in the past (Ritchie, 2001: 6). This is contrasted with the South Asian community who are presented as segregating themselves through where they choose to live and through maintaining a different linguistic culture. The emphasis on language as an aspect of the dominant racialized official discourse is a new turn in the cultural racism of official discourse. Although noting that some within each community would disagree, the report summarizes the views of the white and South Asian communities as follows: For many white people the attitude seems to be that we would rather the Asians were not here, we will have as little to do with them as possible, and so we pretend that the Asians are not here. For many Asians, the attitude seems to be that this is a difficult and alien environment in which we find ourselves, we must protect ourselves from it and its corrupting influences, and we can do that best by creating largely separated communities in Oldham … (Ritchie, 2001: 9).

Those seeking UK citizenship, what the Denham Report refers to as ‘naturalization’, will have to demonstrate: ‘recognition of and adherence to fundamental rights and duties, and to English as our shared language’ (Denham, 2002: 20). Thus language becomes a mechanism of cultural exclusion. For all the worthy claims to multiculturalism, non-English cultures are excluded from the identity of ‘British’. Cohesive communities would be those that are ‘English’-speaking, and other languages would be marginalized, de-valued. There is nothing in the reports that recognized the political, cultural, economic and educational value of having multilingual citizens. Within the discourse of the reports, a multicultural Britain would be a monolingual one. Throughout the Ritchie Report, there is a tension between ‘valuing and celebrating diversity’ and a ‘commitment to a united Oldham’ (Ritchie, 2001: 6). This ‘united Oldham’ would involve residential, educational and social mixing, and would be facilitated through an ‘… adequate understanding of the English language across communities’ (Ritchie, 2001:7). As with the other reports, there are assumptions made about the key factors involved in community cohesion or the lack of it, without supporting evidence. The understanding of language is presented as central to the construction of community cohesion in Oldham, but no evidence is presented about the extent of lack of understanding of English. Segregation and lack of use of English are presented as


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inter-related, with no real evidence to support these claims. Furthermore, English is presented as central to the identity of Oldham: When people do not speak the English language, this has acted as a barrier to integration. The consequent need to translate documents into mother tongues as the provision of English as an Additional Language support, is an irritant to many, though not all white, and African-Caribbean people, because it undermines their deep feeling that ‘English is the language of this town’ (Ritchie, 2001: 9).

Whilst this is a summary of the views of people consulted during the review (we will leave aside the issue of evidence for it), this claim is central to its discourse. English language is constructed as the signifier of the community of Oldham, and the supposed unwillingness of some to learn English is presented as one of the central factors that has undermined community cohesion in Oldham, and that is what has led to the conflicts that culminated in the riot. In short, one of the distinctive aspects of South Asian ethnic identities is constructed within the reports as a key factor behind the riots. These analyses and claims around language, citizenship and national identity have since moved from the realm of the discourse of the official reports into the practices controlling immigration and rights to British citizenship. However, the problem with how language is constructed as a dimension of identity is that, as Kalra (2002: 29) argues, it is: ‘… a skill not a value’. Hence we have argued that language functions within the discourse of the reports as a means of racialization. This is further underlined when one realizes that the majority of those involved in the riot of 2001 were brought up in a country speaking English and educated in schools where English was the medium of instruction (Kalra, 2002: 25). Constructing the Crisis of the South Asian Community Part of the discourse of segregation and community cohesion is to construct South Asian communities as the problem. Whenever the reports discuss South Asian communities, apart from rather generalized and stereotyped discussion of culture and food, they are pathologized, especially in arguing that South Asian communities are in a state of ‘crisis’. They are repeatedly represented as disintegrating from within, lacking leadership (Clarke, 2002: 49) and riven by inter-generational conflict: Cantle, Clarke, Ouseley and Ritchie all draw attention to the extent to which young people’s voices have been largely ignored by decision-makers in the areas where there were disturbances. Some young people complained that the older community and religious leaders who claimed to represent them failed to articulate the experiences of the young (Denham, 2002: 14).

This issue becomes racialized through the use of the term ‘community and religious leaders’. This immediately marks out the problem of ‘inter-generational conflict’ as one that is specific to the South Asian community. What about the conflicts between young white people and their parents (Burnett, 2004)? These themes were central to official public discourse around the South Asian family in relation to issues such

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as forced marriages and honour crimes prior to the reports, with their colonialist references to ancient practices (Ahmad, 2006; Wilson, 2007). In this way the reports incorporated earlier instances of official racist discourses about South Asian communities. This mode of representation also ignores the common popular culture often shared by young white and South Asian people (Kalra, 2002). Furthermore, with respect to policing and crime, Cantle argues that: ‘Minority communities must also face the fact that over time they have adopted a toleration of certain types of criminality’ (Cantle, 2001: 40). The context of this can only mean racially motivated crime. The Ritchie Report also details a range of aspects of South Asian ethnic identities and cultural practices as the causes of the loss of community cohesion, especially language, but also transnational kinship relations, long holidays in Pakistan and Bangladesh. This is presented in a way in which the problems faced by the South Asian community are somehow inherent to its cultural practices, that in some way its established cultural beliefs and practices are dysfunctional or incompatible with British society. The community itself is perceived as being at fault for its problems, its lack of ‘integration’ with or poor relations with mainstream white institutions: ‘Police links with minority ethnic communities are at present based on a network of community leaders who in our view lack authority and credibility. A new network of facilitators with credibility in the local community is necessary to build bridges (Ritchie, 2001: 13). This claim entirely overlooks the ways in which community leaders have been appointed and constructed in a colonialist manner for the purposes of meeting state demands for consultation (Keith, 1993). Of course they lack credibility and legitimacy with ordinary people, as ordinary people often play little or no role in their selection or appointment. Cantle argues that it is necessary for ‘… the minority, largely non-white community, to develop a greater acceptance of, and engagement with, the principal national institutions’ (Cantle, 2001: 19). Furthermore, in a manner that constructs the South Asian community as ‘corrupt’, Cantle recommends that probity for those involved in local politics needs redefining in order to ‘… specifically tackle the problem of the provision of mono-cultural community facilities in exchange for political allegiance from specific communities’ (Cantle, 2001: 24). As in the other reports, anecdotal evidence is presented of gender inequalities (Cantle, 2001: 44), that presents these in a racialized manner: ‘One concern expressed by service providers as well as others has been the difficulty of accessing the views of women in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, and the perceived lesser status of women, in terms of access to education, employment and leisure opportunities’ (Ritchie, 2001: 9). This is directly contrary to the evidence of much empirical research that demonstrates the increasing levels of participation in higher education and the labour market of women of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin in particular (Hussain and Bagguley, 2007). In an argument which directly paraphrases the neo-fascist British National Party’s slogan of ‘white rights’, Cantle, like Clarke (2002: 55), argues that the ‘equalities agenda’ has been far too associated with ethnic minority groups. Arguing that they may not be the groups in greatest need, and that the equalities agenda should be addressing wider issues of poverty and social exclusion: ‘We must, therefore, re-


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define the equalities agenda, which clearly and fundamentally, relates to need and is not seen to exclude any community, such as the white community’ (Cantle, 2001: 39). As Beynon and Kushnick (2003: 239) have argued: ‘… the BNP is the other side of the New Labour coin’. In this way Cantle structures communities in a ‘racialized’ manner, and in particular ‘writes’ class out of the picture. Although issues of racism, economic marginalization and Islamophobia are mentioned in passing (for example, Cantle, 2001: 39–40), they are not systematically discussed and there is little in the way of specific proposals that address these issues. This focus on the ‘crisis’ within South Asian communities also has its historic precedents in the official responses to the riot of the 1980s where the focus was upon African-Caribbean communities. In striking parallels ‘Asian youth’ are now the problem, a moral panic that has been in the making for some time (Alexander, 2000a: 4–12), whereas in the 1980s it was ‘black youth’ (Gilroy, 2002; Keith, 1991). In the 1970s and 1980s, conflicts between first- and second-generation African-Caribbeans were highlighted as among the factors behind those riots. Ostensibly, parents were unable to control their children who suffered from a crisis of identity, with young men in particular developing a tendency to become involved in the street crime that formed the context of the 1980s riot (Scarman, 1982: 24–5). These analyses have been extensively critiqued elsewhere (Gilroy, 2002: 133–5; Keith, 1991: 192–5). Very similar discourses of inter-generational conflict and community crisis run through the community cohesion reports. The point is not so much to challenge the truth or falsity of these claims, but rather to argue that they direct attention away from the surrounding economic deprivation, strategies of policing and neo-fascist mobilizations that have played a role in the disturbances. Conclusion In this chapter we have examined how the discourse of community cohesion and related ideas of segregation and social capital have been deployed in the official reports produced in response to the riots in 2001. In the reports produced in close association with the Home Office in particular (Cantle, Denham and Ritchie), community cohesion, social capital and speaking English are counterposed to the segregated, non-English-speaking, crisis-ridden South Asian communities. In doing so, they have created a particular public ‘official memory’ of the 2001 riot, one structured by the discourse of community cohesion. This is critically important since, as Keith has argued in relation to the 1980s: ‘It is how uprisings or riots are remembered rather than how they actually occurred that dictates policy reaction and future popular mobilisation’ (Keith, 1991: 198). The ideas of community cohesion and social capital in particular have now been constructed as a new political technology for New Labour. They are the new means for governing the people, with activities to be measured and assessed in terms of how far they contribute to community cohesion and develop social capital. For many this is not optional but compulsory (Burnett and White, 2004). However, unlike others who have criticized these developments (for example, Rose, 1999; Schofield, 2002),

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we should recognize that here they take on a racialized form. Or to put it rather more bluntly, they are specific racist performances of these discourses. This is also a re-racialization of British South Asians and specifically South Asian Muslims. Although careful to avoid explicit references to Islam, Pakistani and Bangladeshi is widely understood in this context to mean Muslim in the chain of connotations. At this juncture, it is worth reflecting upon why the riots occurred, and the motivations of those who took part. Certainly as far as the Bradford riot was concerned, it was largely in response to threats of neo-fascist mobilization, as we have seen throughout this book. Rather than examining the reasons for the riots, the reports have operated with their own pre-existing definitions of the situation, and along the way construct their accounts in some respects not dissimilar from those of the BNP. Those young South Asian men who took part in the riot, and those of their generation, see themselves as British citizens, as we saw in the previous chapter. In this sense their British citizenship is central to their hybridized identities, a way of living with ambivalence (Bauman, 1991). For them the project of assimilation is simply irrelevant, as many if not all have grown up speaking English in a British education system (Kalra, 2002). New Labour’s new assimilationism carries the risk of further political marginalization of the British South Asians of northern England, with an intensification of exclusion through the new governmentality of community cohesion. As Zygmunt Bauman wrote in relation to the German Jews in another period: Assimilation was the front line of social engineering, the cutting edge of the advancing order. With spontaneity discredited and nature’s self-monitoring capacity questioned, order became synomical with monopoly of power, with control and repression of resistant ‘otherness’. Ambivalence … was that denial of order which the production of order, in general, and its assimilatory arm in particular, could not help turning out in an ever increasing volume. In the production of uniformity, ambivalence was the industrial waste. As with all refuse, it was shunned, viewed with disgust, and suspected of magic, poisoning powers (Bauman, 1991: 149).

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Conclusion: Another Famous Victory? Soon after the riot on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham over 20 years ago, Stuart Hall wrote that: ‘For a few, brief hours, the police may have been held to a standstill … But in the country at large, the government, the right and the cause of racism won hands down – another famous victory’ (Hall, 1988: 76). So in the twenty-first century, have they won another famous victory? By any assessment of the outcomes for those involved, the new policy consensus around community cohesion, the ongoing electoral successes of the neo-fascist far right and the new public acceptability of racist and Islamophobic utterances and behaviours, they clearly have. We have attempted to map out how we have ended up in a situation where a neofascist political party, the BNP, are now on the verge of respectability, with around 50 local electoral successes, where the government has largely dropped its commitment to multiculturalism, how the commitment of equal opportunities is subordinated to community cohesion, and hundreds of South Asian Muslim men in the north of England were sentenced to periods in prison of typically four years and more for, as they saw it, defending themselves, their families and their communities. How riots are popularly remembered in public culture is critical to their wider political effects (Keith, 1993). The principal way in which the riots of 2001 are remembered is in terms of community cohesion of ghettoized South Asian communities provoking white working class resentment. In contrast we have attempted to examine the events from a perspective rooted in previous studies of riots and their consequences. In broad outline we have followed Rude’s (1981: 10–11) deceptively simple agenda of examining what happened, why, what the consequences were, who was involved, what they were doing, how the forces of law and order responded, and what the longer term consequences of the riots were. Deciding what happened, alone, is a problematic task. Riots are essentially contested events and this means that the study of them faces exceptional problems of a practical, methodological nature which then have wider theoretical consequences. As we saw with respect to the Bradford riot, there was no easily defined consensual or overlapping account of what happened between the sources that we accessed, principally newspaper reports and interviews with those who witnessed the events. The Bradford riot was rather well covered by the press in comparison to other riots, as much of the material was based on the journalists’ eye-witness accounts and their interviews with those present at the disturbances, rather than relying solely on police reports. Nevertheless, we have concluded that the differing accounts provided of the riots matter deeply and it is fruitless distortion to try and impose some account of them on the data through some dubious process of methodological triangulation. However, at its simplest what happened in Oldham and Burnley was that the events were provoked by far-right mobilizations and the resulting violence was a three-way affair between South Asian men, white men and the police. Bradford was rather


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different in that it was located in the city centre initially and again provoked by farright mobilizations, but quickly developed into a two-way conflict between British Pakistani men and the police. This followed largely from the way in which the city centre was cleared by the police. Whilst the riots of the northern towns are now thought of as a singular event in popular memory, there are clearly differences between them that are of enduring significance. This partly concerns who was involved. Although crude arrest data are highly problematic, they do show that the Burnley disturbances stand out, as the vast majority of those reported as arrested were white men aged over 21. This raises an important issue relating to the question of who was involved. The riots are popularly imagined both in the wider public consciousness and in otherwise exemplary academic accounts as solely involving South Asian youth. We have shown that this is simply wrong. In the case of Bradford, most were not youths, though many were relatively young. The wide age range of those involved is an important source of diversity within the crowds involved. The obsessive focus on youth has pernicious effects at many levels. Most seriously, it displaces the political focus from the seriously adult question of the role of the far right to something in the minds of analysts and policy makers as more manageable. We have argued that the diversity of the crowd is not only to be found in those who make it up, but also in terms of what they are doing. Contrary to most of the efforts of over a century of work on violent crowds, we have followed a few other pioneers in seeing that it is what people do in a riot that matters. Furthermore, what they do not only varies between different categories of person, but the same person will be engaged in radically different actions at different points in a riot. One moment someone will be defending a pregnant woman trapped in a shop, helping a garage owner protect his property or serving the police tea and biscuits, yet a little while later they will be putting just as much effort into throwing stones at the police. Such variability of action is inexplicable in terms of many current theoretical models of the behaviour of violent crowds. What does seem evident is that shortterm opportunities for particular actions are more important. So much for who was involved and what they did. What of the response of the forces of law and order and the consequences? It has to be said that in terms of arrests, trials and convictions, the criminal justice system was ruthlessly efficient. There are a number of reasons for this. The reform of the law on riot in the 1986 Public Order Act has given the criminal justice system an easily applied definition of the offence of riot for which it is relatively easy to prove guilt using contemporary policing technologies and methods. These principally involve the use of video surveillance of crowds. Beyond this, what is critically important is political will at a national level and acquiescence locally to drive through the mass arrests and prosecutions for the serious offence of riot. This was provided by the Blair Government, ably served by the then Home Secretary David Blunkett, and the local politicians largely joined in the clamour for retribution as we saw that the law and order response to riots that emerged during the 1980s had become hegemonic. The gruesome games of the spring and summer of 2001 were played out against a rising tide of criminalization of young South Asian men that meant pursing the strategy of repression was relatively



easy. Aside from the immediate families of some of those caught up in the process and their supporters, they were politically isolated. But the repression of those directly involved and their families was not the only response by the state. Through the new policy discourse of community cohesion, the blame was laid at the door of all South Asian communities. Presenting South Asian Muslim communities in particular as pathologically segregated from British society, rather than excluded by years of racist housing and employment practices, this neatly let local authorities and police off the hook for their part in what happened. Multiculturalism and equal opportunities are now subordinated to the ethnonormativity of a narrow white Britishness. This has had all kinds of consequences for policy, such as new immigration regulations and citizenship rules. More than anything perhaps, the thinly veiled attacks on South Asian communities opened the door for all kinds of populist and intellectual forms of cultural racism against South Asians and Muslims in particular. Whilst in a general sense this is at the level of a constant drip of media stories on forced marriages, crime and a refusal to integrate into an undefineable Britishness, for particular individuals it comes at the level of racist insults and attacks. The consequences of the 2001 riots would perhaps have been very different were it not for the thousands of unfortunate souls caught up in the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and 7 July 2005. By September 2001, the policy agenda was being set, but the findings of the official reports were to enter a radically different political context. Their agenda of community cohesion has come to form part of a wider long-term counter-terrorism strategy. South Asian Muslims were no longer just the enemy within but part of a new wider global enemy. British Pakistani Muslims in particular are now caught in a powerful grid of ideas about them that are not of their own choosing. The parts of this grid connect to each other and define each other in an overarching process of reproducing the subordinate position of British Pakistani Muslims in British society. They are seen as segregating themselves on racial and religious grounds. Their spaces are seen as locations problematic to police and as concentrating pupils into difficult schools. They are seen as communities closed to outsiders, providing a haven for all kinds of criminal activities, from drug dealing, through terrorism, to so-called honour killings. These are the terms on which any debate about South Asian culture, Islam, Sharia law, how women dress, social conditions, crime or political representation are forced to engage. No quality of theoretical critique, no quantity of empirical evidence, no effective application of reason seems able to dislodge this collective myth the British have about British Muslims. The parts of this grid were constructed before the riots; those events, the state’s responses to them and the globalization of terrorism have welded them firmly into place for the time being.

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Index Abudu Stark, M.J. 24, 80 African-Caribbean 2, 27-8, 30, 39, 42, 44, 58, 84, 114, 169-70, 172 Age of rioters 26, 37, 49-50, 58, 79, 84-6, 129, 139, 176 Alexander, C. 5, 42, 45 Allport, F.H. 7, 15-16 Anti-Nazi League (ANL) 33, 55, 56, 66-8, 73, 75, 76 Bangladeshi 40-5, 47-8, 63, 112, 164, 171, 173 Blumer, H. 7, 16-18, 21, 22 Blunkett, David 60-2, 122, 127, 129, 131, 161, 176 Bradford 1995 riot 49-54, 100-1 2001 riot 54-63, 100-1 British National Party (BNP) 1-4, 46-8, 55, 60, 67, 69-71, 75-6, 81, 91, 93, 98-100, 130, 141, 145, 153, 156, 172-3, 175 Britishness 35, 121, 144-7, 150, 152, 177 Burlet, S. 52 Burnley 48-9 Cantle, T. 120-1, 161-4, 168-9, 171-2 Carling, A. 81-2, 84-5, 128-9, 133-4, 142 Citizenship 1, 9, 27, 33, 122, 166-70, 177 and identity 9-10, 35, 144-7, 150, 151-7 Commission, Bradford The 50-4, 65, 68, 73-4, 94, 101, 104, 106, 131 community 5, 23, 26-7, 45, 81 leaders 9, 51-2, 54, 57, 59-60, 88, 101, 104-7, 110, 135, 171 Pakistani 6, 9, 36, 48-9, 50-4, 62, 67, 69, 73-4, 77, 85, 87, 92, 97, 100, 108, 110, 111, 112-14, 120, 123, 130, 137-9, 148, 154, 170-2 White 9, 111, 114-18, 120-1, 123-4, 154, 167, 169, 172

community cohesion 2, 5, 10, 54, 62, 104, 117, 121, 122, 124, 159-73, 176-7 Conservative Party 4, 59 convictions of rioters 1, 3, 129-30, 132-4, 176 Couch, C.J. 8, 15, 22-3 Criminalization 39, 42-5, 60, 102, 111, 131, 176 Crossley, N. 20, 144 crowd 4, 6, 8, 11-37, 49, 51-2, 56-7, 59, 63, 65, 70, 72-5, 79-80, 83-93, 95, 128, 132, 176 Denham, John 159-60, 162-3, 166-7, 16970, 172 denizen 144, 145, 154, 156 diaspora 76, 124, 147, 151 diversity, of actions in riot 4, 8, 37, 79-80, 89, 91 of rioters 83-9 dynamics, of riots 8, 36, 79, 91, 96, 104 Dynes, R.R. 23 Emotions of rioters 90-1 Englishness 144, 146 ethnicity identity 35, 42-5, 50, 79, 85-6, 92, 106, 124, 143-7, 152, 159, 164 labour market 39-41 of rioters 50, 84 qualifications 41 Fair Justice for All Campaign 6, 130, 133 Far right, see British National Party (BNP) and National Front (NF) flashpoints 29-32, 65, 70-72 gender 5, 41, 43, 84, 85, 110, 112, 117, 144


Riotous Citizens

generation 1, 5, 9, 27, 35, 41, 43, 54, 87, 106, 110, 111-12, 143, 145, 147-57, 172 Gilroy, P. 44 Glodwick, Oldham 45, 47, 172 Goodey, 42-5 Griffin, Nick 2-3, 55 Honeyford affair 50, 53 Hybridity 35, 149-50, 156 Islam 55, 117, 121, 123-4, 148, 152-3, 1567, 173, 177 Islamophobia experiences of since the riots 9, 111-12, 118-20, 123-4, 153, 167, 172 Keith, M. 13, 30, 36-7, 73, 84, 85-6, 97, 172 Killian, L. 7, 21-2 Labour Party 3-4, 49, 54, 61-2, 117, 132 New Labour 160-1, 168, 172 Lea, J. 27-8 Le Bon, G. 4, 7, 11, 13-16, 19, 22, 25, 26, 27, 33, 36, 83 Lieberson, S. 23 Location, of riots 72-5 Macey, M. 44 Manningham, Bradford 2, 51-4, 57, 60-3, 65, 68, 72-7, 79-83, 89, 91-2, 95-7, 99, 104, 109, 130-1, 135 McPhail, C. 8, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23-4, 34, 86, 89 media 107-9 motivations of rioters 90-1 Mouzelis, N. 30-1 Muslims 2-3, 7-8, 40, 45-6, 50, 53, 92, 98, 107-9, 111-12, 116-19, 124-5, 130, 146, 152-3, 173, 177 National Front (NF) 2-3, 28, 47, 53, 55-8, 60, 66-70, 73-6, 81, 90-1, 93, 100, 107, 109, 134 neo-fascism see British National Party (BNP) and National Front (NF)

Oberschall, A. 5-6, 8, 24, 85-6 Oldham 45-8 outsiders 81-3 Pakistani 6-9, 33, 36, 40-5, 48, 50-4, 60, 63, 67, 69, 71, 73-4, 76-7, 81, 84-5, 87, 92, 97-8, 100-2, 106-8, 111-15, 120, 123, 135-6, 138-9, 143, 147-8, 152, 152, 156, 164, 171, 173, 176-7 Park, R. 7, 15, 16 Police conflict with 6, 15, 21, 23, 29-30, 32, 34-5, 80, 90-4, 99, 107, 176 injured 1, 24, 49 liaison committee 51, 55, 67, 75, 94, 106, 137 relations with community 1-2, 9, 20, 279, 45-8, 50-4, 99, 101-4, 110 tactics 13, 51, 56-8, 65, 67, 70-2, 72-6, 77, 80, 94-6, 128 West Yorkshire 81, 84, 128, 133 Quarantelli, E.L. 23 Racism 1-2, 14, 50, 61-2, 92, 94, 98-9, 124, 136, 147, 151-4, 159, 161-2, 167, 169, 172, 175, 177 experiences of since the riots 9, 111, 115-16, 118-20, 123-5 Reicher, S. 4, 12, 33-6 Reid, H. 52 reification 12, 17, 21, 30, 32-3, 36 riots in the 1980s 27-9, 32-3, 114 see also Bradford, Burnley and Oldham Rude, G. 4, 8, 11, 15, 25-6, 36, 141 Rule, J.B. 30 rumours 19, 47, 49, 55-6, 66-70, 72, 75, 81, 100-1 Rushdie affair 53 Segregation and community cohesion 1, 39, 52, 623, 98, 160-5, 168-70, 172 Community views about 115, 117, 120-3

Index Sentencing of rioters 9, 54, 128-32 Community views of 113-14, 135-42 Silverman, A.R. 23 Smelser, N.J. 18-20, 28, 29-30, 32, 97, 99 social cohesion see community cohesion South Asian, see Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Muslims

Vogler, R. 28, 129

Tarde, G 11, 13-16, 36 targets, of rioters 18, 19, 24-5, 29, 51, 60, 79-80, 91-4, 96 Thompson, E.P. 8, 11, 25, 26-7, 97 Tilly, C. 5, 62 Turner R.H. 7, 21-2

Young, J. 27-8

Waddington, D. 29-31, 48-9, 70, 83 Waddington, P.A.J. 31-3 Webster, C. 42-4 Werbner, P. 12

9/11 3, 9, 111-12, 119-20, 124