From: Languages of the Unheard
This chapter argues that in many cases rioting may serve as a vehicle for fostering social inclusion and civic equality. Rioting has a unique capacity to allow the voiceless to interrupt business as usual with a dramatic outbreak of autonomous refusal. Motivated by moral insight into the unfairness of their situation and frustrated by intransigent elites and unresponsive institutions that ignore their grievances and thwart their aspirations, the unheard may sometimes find their voice in acts of collective defiance and confrontation. In this respect, rioting is not that different from other styles of militant resistance.
Stephen D’Arcy is an associate professor of philosophy at Huron University College, Western University. A long-time social activist and protest organizer, he teaches and writes about democratic theory and practical ethics.