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Rioting as a Political Tool: The 2005 Riots in France

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 48 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2009 Pages: 235-244
Fabien Jobard
Date Published
July 2009
10 pages
This article is intended to represent the views of French social scientists in tackling the sociological issues raised by riots that occurred in France and whether the riots produced a change in policy or resulted in more rioting or apathy, hostility, and repression.
The riots that occurred in October and November 2005 in France, as a result of a police chase resulting in the death of two young boys from a deprived area, was certainly not the first and only of its kind, however, it forced French social scientists to shed new light on the political dimension of breakdowns labeled as 'riots'. This article examines the accuracy of the notion of 'race riots' to characterize such violent outbursts, and examines how far the riots have led to changes in the politics of France. A number of causal factors are identified and highlighted. Racial factors played a key role in triggering local revolts, but this dimension is best understood as a property of migratory patterns, as opposed to a direct appeal for racial freedom. Clashes with the police have constituted the initial contact, but migratory, urban, and social factors, together with local if not parochial stories, all played a decisive, contributory part. Notes and references


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