chapter  4
Age Cohorts, Cognition and Collective Violence
ByHank Johnston
Pages 13

This chapter aims to underline the crucial differences between riots and social movements by analyzing three different aspects of riots: their dynamic of discontinuity, volatility, and alternation; their temporal and spatial limitations as challenges to social order; and the contested political identities of rioters. The Los Angeles riots illustrate significant changes in the contemporary urban ghettos of American cities. In the urban riots in American cities during the 1960s, some civil rights organizations got involved in order to redirect the anger and put an end to the violence in black communities. Riots entail agency and are contentious in the sense that they challenge existing social norms and regulations. Riots may take place within a social movement's cycle of protest and social movements may emerge from riot events. In the latter case the volatile, fragmented and contradictory elements of rioting are gradually transformed into more coherent, coordinated and sustained episodes of collective action.