‘Man Dem Link Up’: London’s Anti-Riots and Urban Modernism by Gareth Millington

My new colleague Gareth Millington has just had a piece on the riots published in Sociological Research Online. It’s called ‘Man Dem Link Up’: London’s Anti-Riots and Urban Modernism. Here’s the abstract:

Commentaries on the London riots of August 2011 have tended to ignore the urban context of the disturbances or have treated the city and the urban as an implicit part of their analysis – merely as a backdrop to events. This paper offers an urban perspective in arguing that the socio-spatiality of contemporary London – the legacy of competing forms of urban modernism – plays a critical role in explaining how and why the disturbances unfolded in the highly idiosyncratic form they did. The first stage of the analysis introduces competing notions of urban modernism ranging from a modernism of the street, to a modern urbanism of welfarist/statist control and finally a deregulated neoliberal (post)modernism. Second, the socio-spatial dimensions of contemporary London are outlined. Third, the article moves to contrast the ‘inner city’ riots of Brixton 1981 and what is described here as the ‘anti-riots’ of August 2011. In the fourth section the events of August 2011 are argued to be part of a dialectic between the homogenisation, fragmentation and hierarchization of London-space and the resilience of an urban modernism that seeks to re-engage with the experience of the city as totality, as a sum of human efforts.

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