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Riots and Pogroms

During the Los Angeles riots of 1992, many Korean-American businesses were looted and burned to the ground. Although nearly half of the looters arrested were Latinos, the media portrayed this aspect of the riots more in terms of the on-going conflict between Korean-Americans and African-Americans. In another part of the world in 1984, the violence which ensued after the assasination of India's Indira Gandhi was portrayed by officials and state leaders as a spilling over of mass sentiments of grief and anger, a conflict between ethnic groups instead of a pogrom against the Sikhs.

Riots and Pogroms presents comparative Studies of public violence in the twentieth century in the United States, Russia, Germany, Israel, and India with a comparative, historical, and analytical introduction by the editor. The focus of the book is on the interpetive process which follows riots and pogroms, rather than on the search for their causes. Its emphasis is on the struggle for control over the meaning of rioutous events, for the right to represent them properly. How do political and social forces seek to assign causes and attach labels to riots, attribute motives to rioters and "pogromists," and explain why particular groups are selected for violent assaults? To what extent are the state and its agents implicated in those assaults? To what degree does organization and/or spontaneity play a role in these incidents?