Emotions in Riots. Exploring Micro-level Dynamics in Riots in Belfast 1969-2010
Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom
Despite significant developments in the study of emotions in social movements research, micro-level dynamics in riots have received little attention. This paper has a twofold aim. First, employing Collins’ Interactional Ritual Chains theory (2004), this research explores the emotional dimensions of participating in riots in Belfast between 1969 and 2010, from a micro- level of analysis. Using the Biographical Narrative Interpretative Method (Wengraf 2001), I conducted 9 life-story interviews with participants in riots in Belfast. The life-stories illustrate that ritual dynamics that occurred during riots facilitate the emergence of Emotional Energy, which in-turn, reinforces solidarity. At the same time, participation in riots was lived as a moment of collective empowerment for those taking part. The involvement in riots strengthened identification with their local communities and intensified the friendship ties among rioters.
Second, the paper examines in-depth the place of riots in the lives of three participants, showing that participation in riots, as a form of collective action, was carried out as a means to defend their community against a perceived threat. In addition, these life-stories show the importance of social bonds in understanding participation in, and emotional dynamics of, riots.
This work highlights the necessity of addressing riots by looking at both the context and motivation for participation in them, as well as the emotional dynamics that occur during the course of riots.
Feeling solidarity with strangers: The Rose Marches and the sociology of emotions
KIFO, Institute for Church, Religion, and Worldview Research
On 22 July 2011, Norway was the victim of two successive terrorist attacks. The terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, was motivated by anti-immigrant and anti-Islam ideology. He bombed the main government building in Oslo, killing 8, before traveling to Utøya, an island where the Norwegian Labour Party's youth organisation held a summer camp, where he murdered 69 people, more than half which were 18 years old or younger.
In the aftermath of these attacks, there were many large public gatherings in Norway, the so called “rose marches”. In Oslo more than 200 000 people gathered at the city hall square, the largest gathering of people in the history of Norway. This paper is a sociological analysis of the feelings that people experience inside and outside of these marches, whit a special emphasis on strong, bodily feelings of community that many felt – but also with a discussesion of those who felt little or none solidarity.
The paper is based on the written answers that were given on a survey that charted how people had experienced the public gatherings. This data was collected in 2011 and 2012, and 329 respondents described, in their own word, how they felt after the attacks.
The theoretical perspective is Durkheim’s writings about the social nature of emotion, especially his theories about mourning rituals, as they are described The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912). This perspective is supplemented by more recent research, such as the sociology of emotion, cultural traumas and the performance of the social rituals. The paper documents the nature of public, shared feelings after terrorist attack, and provides insights into the genesis of such social.
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”: Exploring Collective Emotion At The Hillsborough Vigil
Coventry University, United Kingdom
Emotion, specifically collective and group-based emotion, has been investigated as a motivation in social change (for example, Britt & Heise, 2000) with empowerment, and positive emotions, shown to lead to increased collective action (Drury et al, 2005).
This presentation explores the role of collective emotions in social justice campaigns and through triangulation of multiple forms of data (such as televised footage, interviews and newspaper reports) this research aims to analyse accounts of ‘in situ’ and retrospective collective emotion in response to the Hillsborough verdict in 2016.
A cursory analysis of crowd behaviour at the event would suggest a celebratory, positive atmosphere; evident in joint singing, cheering and scarf-waving. Contrary to this, a more detailed analysis of crowd behaviour and interviews conducted found feelings of sadness, anger and alienation. This was the impact of a decades-long media campaign discrediting victims, families, campaigners and the city of Liverpool. The Hillsborough Vigil offered a unique space of collective emotion where various affected groups came together in response to the long-awaited exoneration of victims and football fans.
The variety of emotions evident in those present at the Vigil highlights that, despite receiving the verdict so desperately fought for, this does not result in positive, unanimous group emotion. Instead, the legacy of their struggle and the continued strain that they have endured means there is a need for continued support while they process the outcome and come to terms with their complex emotional experiences. It also emphasises the dynamic nature of emotion(s) in large groups, often described simply as 'effervesence', and the need for more indepth investigation that combines personal accounts, observations and other narratives.