Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Inside The Mind Of A Looter and Rioter

It's tempting to think  in terms of single cause and effect for the riots affecting the UK. This naturalistic scientific approach however doesn't really work with psychological and social issues. Things are much more complex and stratified.

There is the situation, the social psychology, cognitive psychology and the impenetrable unconscious. This means commentators will be pre-disposed to emphasise their favoured lens of explanation.  The aftermath will be a TV full of expert opinion. That's why we some people suggesting its upbringing and social background, others will describe the power of crowds, others will paint a picture of sociopathic behaviour and criminality. The riots are surely a deadly cocktail of all these. The perfect social storm. And the trigger?

I like this article from Zoe Williams of the Guardian who refers to Alex Hiller's analysis that alienation of individuals incapable of feeding the consumerist habit that they have been trained in for decades by business underpins their drive to take what they apsire to but have no means to buy. The advertisers are skilled psychologists who ensure we all feel inadequate unless we buy into the dreams only their products can satisfy.

And so we have stratified problem that needs stratified solutions. The immediate requires robust action, the social will take longer, and the attitudinal might never be achieved in decades. The Feral Rats are outside of societal norms.Ultimately there is evidently a lack of belief in consequences. This can only be addressed at home and in school. The consequences will be becoming apparent  to the culprits to be sure.

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