In this presentation, Daniel Lees Fryer will be considering Martin Luther King Jr’s reference to riots as the “language of the unheard”, and asking how we might think of riots and rioting in terms of language or text. He’ll be doing so from a multimodal systemic functional perspective, distinguishing first between riots or rioting as process (as they unfold in time and space) and riots as artefacts (as contested histories and their potential relevance for later struggles).
He’ll go through some features and resources (a)typical of riots—including confrontations with police and property damage—and then consider their meaning-making potentials. One aspect of rioting he is particularly interested in, and will talk about in this presentation, is how and where people bond in what appear to be on-the-fly, often short-lived forms of community, e.g. people coming together to overturn vehicles or to de-arrest protesters.
Daniel Lees Fryer will be drawing on examples from a variety of different riots, but, since June is Pride Month, he thought it might be interesting to include some material from the Stonewall riots/uprising of 1969.