Researchers demand inquiry into riots

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Researchers demand inquiry into riots

Ten Swedish and British academics have called for a "Husby committee" to investigate the roots of the recent unrest in Stockholm and to establish how to avoid similar incidents in the future.


Writing in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SVD), the academics called for a "deep analysis" of the events.

They argued that the "Husby committee", named after the west Stockholm suburb where the riots started in May, should be modelled on a similar inquiry launched after the 2001 riots in Gothenburg.

"When reports of the events in Husby reached us our thoughts immediately went to similar events in Paris (2005), Athens (2008) and London (2011)," the academics wrote.

"In all cases, the police were involved in deaths. But the similarities do not only lie in the igniting spark, but also in a social situation which provides a more fundamental explanation to the events that have been called riots, disturbances or suburb revolts."

The researchers went on to describe segregated urban environments and income inequalities as social factors at play in European cities that have experienced riots in recent years.

They stated that Sweden is now home to some of the most segregated cities in northern Europe and that events such as those in Husby have become more or less predictable.

The writers also criticized the Swedish freeschool system, the country's "structural discrimination" and recent rent hikes in suburbs like Husby.

They stated that it is now "absolutely necessary to start a dialogue with those who have initiated self-organization in the suburbs" and stressed that the proposed "Husby Committee" should not just investigate what happened in the run-up to and during the riots, but should also critically analyse "the social situation which the Swedish suburban population is in today".

The 10 researchers come from the fields of sociology, cultural studies, urban studies and more. Among them are well-known postcolonial studies scholars such as Paul Gilroy and Les Back of the University of London.

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