This chapter makes a contribution to this debate by demonstrating the extent to which the riots share similar underlying political rationales to earlier British urban disturbances of the 1980s, 1990s and 2001. The 1980s UK riots involved confrontations between the police and predominantly African-Caribbean youths in major inner-city areas such as Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester. It underlines the important causal similarities between these disturbances and the French riots of 2005. The chapter discusses political dimensions of the British and French disorders, thereby emphasizing that it is necessary to look beyond naive and socially irresponsible conceptions of the rioters as 'want only criminal' in order to more adequately appreciate the meanings and significance of their behaviour. Youth culture in the banlieues has variously been depicted by both politicians and the media as going hand-in-hand with delinquency and violence, ranging from gang rapes and drug 'turf wars' to honour killings and vengeance murders.