Anger in the City.
Negative Solidarities and the Pursuit of the Common Bad in the Context of the 2011 English Riots
Starting from Hannah Arendt’s concept of negative solidarities, the thrust of this paper is to determine whether the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, in the aftermath of the 2011 English riots, manufactured a moral panic with the help of the mass media, presumably in order to distract British people from the damaging social effects of neoliberal capitalism and to be in a position to legitimise and impose its Big Society ideology. I shall demonstrate that angered ‘gang’ members and rioters, beyond appearances, may be understood as irregular participants in a democratic process exercising some measure of positive solidarity against the state. In addition, I shall contend that on the contrary, the coalition deliberately rejected the social dimension of riots and endeavoured to escape political responsibility, instrumentalising ‘gangs’ and adopting the recurring blame-it-on-the Blacks/poor approach to keep its alibi intact, thereby practising negative solidarity.