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Local Events, National Implications: Riots in Oldham and Burnley 2001 (From Rioting in the UK and France: A Comparative Analysis, P 41-55, 2009, David Waddington, Fabien Jobard, and Mike King, eds. - See NCJ-229457)

NCJ Number
Virinder Kalra; James Rhodes
Date Published
15 pages
This chapter focuses on the local histories underlying the "identity politics" of Oldham and Burnley, which were sites of localized civil disorders in Great Britain in the summer of 2001.
The chapter focuses on the role of information technologies in the build-up to the riots, during the rioting, and afterwards in associated court cases. The use of mobile phones to spread rumors, the police use of video surveillance in riot-related court cases, and the role of the local print/radio media all played new and important roles in riot-related events. These technologies were used to promote racially oriented views of events prior to, during, and after the riots. In Oldham and Burnley areas have long been viewed as either homogeneously "White" or "Asian." in Burnley, for example, the "Asian" population, which consists primarily of people with a Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage, compose two-thirds of two neighborhoods that were the center of disturbances. The area has been typically viewed as an "Asian ghetto." In efforts to upgrade facilities and conditions in these areas, government funding and resources have been used. The British National Party (BNP), a conservative political party, has framed this issue as discrimination against White residents, who perceive that they are being excluded from receiving the same facilities and services as the "Asians." The BNP used local media in capitalizing upon and emphasizing local White narratives of resentment. The flow of information within Oldham and Burnley, along with the role that the media and the BNP played in framing the racial landscape was a significant aspect of the 2001 riots. Also, for the BNP, the Internet was used in responding to local grievances and rumors. This enabled the party to magnify minor or localized grievances to a much broader audience.