Demokratiet & ungdomsopprør

Dr. Jeffrey Stevenson Murer er forsker ved School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews i Scotland, og har skrevet denne artikkelen spesielt for Flammepunkt:

Youth Riots

On 9 August 2011 British Prime Minister David Cameron told the news media that those who participated in the unrest of the previous nights in London would “feel the force of the law” for the “riots were criminality, plain and simple.” Yet it was far from plain or simple.

For many youth in Europe and around the world, simply being a young person is to feel the full force of the law everyday. In Britain young people are subjected to the policing of where they go, with whom they associate, how loud their music is played, when they can go into stores, and even the clothes they wear. If young people are deemed to be violating the social peace they can be issued with an ASBO – an Anti-Social Behaviour Order. In cities all across Europe young men, especially young men of colour, are often subjected to a spot frisking of their bodies and possessions to determine whether they are carrying drugs, weapons, or even money from “ill-gotten-gains.” Such stops, which often include young men being placed in hand cuffs in front of their friends and neighbours, can be described as the “violence of humiliation” transforming young people into symbolic criminals.

How loud is too loud for music to be played? How many young people on a corner are too many? When does speaking up for one’s self becomes “talking back to authority”? It is the power of the state to determine what behaviours constitute criminality, and many young people are subjected to such symbolic violence for merely their presence in the world. Many young people feel the full force of the law everyday. For some, what became called the 2011 English Riots, was an attempt that police control.

Dr. Jeffrey Stevenson MurerUniversity of St. Andrews


[1]Aldridge, Judith, Robert Ralphs and Juanjo Medina, “Collateral Damage: Territory and Policing in an English Gang City” in Youth in Crisis?: Gangs, Territoriality and Violence Goldson, Bary, ed., (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 85.

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