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I predict a riot

The causes behind the worst public riots in decades will be explored at a free public lecture in St Andrews on Wednesday December 7, 2011 in School I, St Salvator’s Quad at 1930 hours.

The Students’ Association are helping to expand the University of St Andrew’s 600th Lecture Series with a programme of Union lectures, kicking off on with a talk on the English riots by the University’s own leading light on crowd psychology, Prof Steve Reicher.

David Cameron blamed the 2011 riots on a “broken society” but what really happened? What caused such anger and violence? In his recent publication, “Mad Mobs and Englishmen?” Professor Steve Reicher, together with Dr Clifford Stott of the University of Liverpool, presented an evidence-based evaluation of the causes of the riots.

Come along to the first 600th Union Lecture to find out more about the complex factors that must be addressed if we are to prevent a similar situation again.

Professor Reicher will explain that there was much more to the riots than irrational mob mentality – busting the myths of the 2011 riots and putting them into their historical context.

Speaking ahead of the first ever academic lecture on the subject, Professor Reicher said:

“Riots always have a pattern that reveals the understandings and grievances of those involved. We will learn much about our society if we stop, listen and learn from what people did on those four nights in August.”

“If we simply dismiss and condemn the riots, and if we fail to learn from them, then we are in danger of sleepwalking our way towards catastrophe.”

Superintendent Roger Evans, former Deputy Commander of the Metropolitan Police Territorial Support Group, is among those who agree we have a lot to learn from Professor Reicher. He says: “This reasoned and intelligent approach is in stark contrast to the moral panics apparent in Westminster and the media in the immediate aftermath of the riots.”

This talk is the first of a Union Lecture Series which will continue next semester.

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