Connecting Social Representation, Identity and Ideology: Reflections on a London “riot”
This paper looks back at an analysis of participant-observers’ narratives of the 1995 Brixton so-called ‘riot’. The theory of social representations is drawn on to make sense of networks of social representations of crowds, and to analyse the core and peripheral elements of these social representations. A re-presentation of the crowd as a collection of individuals competes with a re-presentation of the crowd as a cohesive body guided by a common history. In the examination of individual differences in the use of particular representations, both (i) re-presentation as a process in the negotiation of identity and (ii) the ideological nature of this negotiation are highlighted. I argue that the evaluation of representations and that the assessment of the role of power on their construction and maintenance are of fundamental importance.