Methodological challenges of researching riots in small geographical communities

PLATTS-FOWLER, Deborah (2015). Methodological challenges of researching riots in small geographical communities. In: DA AGRA, Cândido, CARDOSO, Carla, DE MAILLARD, Jacques, O’REILY, Conor, PONSAERS, Paul and SHAPLAND, Joanna, (eds.) Criminology, security and justice: methodological and epistemological issues. GERN Research Paper Series (3). Antwerp, Maklu, 133-150.

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The paper draws on an empirical study of the 2011 English Riots. In the aftermath of these riots, the media and political discourse spotlighted ‘contagion’ as the main explanation for the outbreak of disorder across 66 different locations, implying that context was irrelevant. This research used the case study method to explore the role of local contextual factors, especially local policing, partnership relations and community engagement, in promoting and preventing unrest. The paper outlines how the contentious nature of ‘riots’ as a subject-matter for empirical research and the focus on small geographical areas presented particular challenges that affected the research design, the research experience, and possibly the impact of the findings. Methodological challenges included the unwillingness of people to participate in the research; pressures for them to re-write history in particular ways; risks to the anonymity of individuals and neighbourhoods involved in the research, with the potential for social harm.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Law Research Group
Page Range: 133-150
Depositing User: Deborah Platts-Fowler
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2016 11:12
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 21:46

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