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 conflicts
between Korean-Americans and African- Americans. In another part of
the world in 1984, the violence which ensued after the
assassination 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 interpretive 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 riotous 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
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