Urban violence has a long history in England and in France. Analysing the recent disorders in Greater Paris in 2005 and London in 2011 reveals many similarities regarding mobilisation potential, precipitants, preparations, contagion and responses. Economic disadvantage and policies neglecting the margins are very significant in the contexts compared here. Disorders give globalisation its confrontational dimension, without immediately resorting to political claims. Much of the explanatory dimensions are similar (economic hardship, lack of life chances, political disenfranchisement, police–youth tensions, rumours, street cultures and the accuracy of the flashpoint model). The ‘running comparison’ for Greater Paris and London reveals, however, divergences: the importance of looting in England; the role of social media; the protection of two outer rings given to Paris, as well as other dimensions. The national responses also display divergences. With regard to ameliorating deprivation, measures are likely to.
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