BPS member to give public lecture on riots

Getting it wrong about the riots: why the official explanations and policy responses will only make things worse, a free Public Lecture by Professor Steve Reicher, a Society Member, will take place on 14 March 2012. 

The event, hosted by the Institute of Social Psychology, will be held at the London School of Economics & Political Science from 6.00 to 8.00 pm. It will explore the riots of August 2011, where rioters were portrayed as amoral and criminal outsiders.

Professor Reicher, of University of St. Andrews, said: “The government response was based on tougher policing and greater intervention in the rioting communities. This approach, encapsulated in the branding of rioters as 'feral', mirrors responses to previous riots both in the US and the UK.

“However, in time, both the explanations and the responses have come to be seen as flawed and to misrepresent the nature of crowd action.

“Drawing on both past research on crowds and riots, and also detailed analysis of the events of August, I shall provide an alternative explanation of why people participated in the riots and what they did during the rioting.

“I shall also argue that effective responses must be based on inclusion and engagement rather than exclusion and containment.”

Considered by some to be one of the foremost authorities on crowd psychology, Professor Reicher, of University of St. Andrews, has been studying crowds for over thirty years.

He contributed to the October 2011 issue of The Psychologist which covered the psychology of the riots in detail.

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is available on a first come, first served basis. More information is available via email or by telephone: 020 7955 7700.