Journal Article

Urban ‘Riots’ or Urban Violence in France?

Sophie Body-Gendrot

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 1, issue 4, pages 416-427
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online December 2007 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI:
Urban ‘Riots’ or Urban Violence in France?

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This article discusses the forms of urban violence which inflamed over 300 sensitive neighbourhoods in France in November 2005, referred to by the media, politicians and researchers as ‘riots’.1 This choice of word is not without consequences. The term riots, associated with cities, evokes the racial riots in American cities during the 1960s and those in Los Angeles in 1992, images of which have been seen all over the world. This article argues that the reference to riots is inappropriate in the French case, it is structured according to the questions that President Lyndon Johnson asked Judge Otto Kerner when he appointed him as the Head of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorder in 1967: What happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen? What can be done? It concludes with a discussion as to what is specifically French in these outbursts.

Journal Article.  5599 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Policing

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