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Productive provocations: vitriolic media, spaces of protest and agonistic outrage in the 2011 England riots

McCosker, Anthony and Johns, Amelia 2013, Productive provocations: vitriolic media, spaces of protest and agonistic outrage in the 2011 England riots, Fibreculture journal, no. 22, FCJ-161, pp. 171-193.

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Title Productive provocations: vitriolic media, spaces of protest and agonistic outrage in the 2011 England riots
Author(s) McCosker, Anthony
Johns, Amelia
Journal name Fibreculture journal
Issue number 22
Season FCJ-161
Start page 171
End page 193
Total pages 23
Publisher Open Humanities Press
Place of publication Sydney, N. S. W.
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1449-1443
Keyword(s) race
trolling
provocation
2011 England riots
social media citizenship
Notes The intense social upheaval that spread through a number of UK cities in the riots and protests of August, 2011 signalled the terrifying speed with which passionate disaffection can turn to uncontained violence. At stake in the dense and volatile debate that ensued, and in the acts of violence themselves, were contests over spaces as well as competing models of democracy, publics and citizenship, including the appropriate use of social media. Within these debates, almost universally, rational deliberative discourse and action is assumed to be the only route to legitimate “civil” society. So what is to be made of the violent physical contest over city squares, streets and property, as well as contests over acts of participation and demonstration played out online through the hundreds of eyewitness videos posted to sites like YouTube and the endless flow of often vitriolic words in blogs, comments spaces and social network sites? This paper uses a video posted to YouTube titled ‘Clapham Junction Speaker (London Riots 2011)’ to examine the passion and provocation that flowed beyond the city streets to enliven, intensify and sustain forms of protest and civic engagement. We argue that the aggressive and antagonistic tenor of the Speaker’s twenty minute monologue, the bitter vitriol that flowed through the comments space, and even the act of posting it constitute significant elements of a generative, ‘agonistic’ public, to use Chantal Mouffe’s term, that operates in multiple spaces and outside of the rationalising discourse demanded by mainstream media and government. This paper develops a richer understanding of these spaces of protest, and the concept of provocation central to these events.
Language eng
Field of Research 200102 Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies
200209 Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies
Socio Economic Objective 950204 The Media
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Open Humanities Press
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30061130

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation
Open Access Collection
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Created: Fri, 28 Feb 2014, 09:28:50 EST by Amelia Johns

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.