chapter  1
The Dynamics of Violent Protest: Emotions, Repression and Disruptive Deficit
Pages 16

This chapter suggests that riots are usually constructed as events characterized by a high level of irrational and unorganized violence. Problematizing the conceptualization of riots as anomic, spontaneous, and apolitical, we bring into the analysis some concepts from the field of social movement research, such as resource mobilization and political opportunities, and bridge them with sensitivity to relations, symbolic constructivism, and causal mechanisms. The events of December 2008 in Greece have been often described and stigmatized as riots. Research on past and present episodes of riots has stressed the constrained dimension of violence. Although with significant exceptions, the rioters tend to limit their use of violence. In fact, the sense attributed to the riot and the intentions attributed to the rioters depend on the result of symbolic fights that oppose attempts at disqualification and of political habilitation, and depend on the echo that they are likely to have. Violent events prompt symbolic struggles about their meaning, causes and events.