MARC Work-in-Progress Session

Riots in India: Emotional Dynamics and the Means of Political Manipulation
Media Activism Research Center
17 Nov 2014 - 12:00pm
Annenberg School for Communication, Room 224

The Media Activism Research Collective (MARC) will host its first works-in-progress session on Monday, November 17, at 12:00 p.m. in Annenberg room 224.

MARC WIP sessions offer a supportive, interdisciplinary space in which graduate students and faculty working at the intersection of media and social movements can present projects at any stage of development for feedback and benefit from learning about the work of others. All graduate students and faculty are welcomed to attend. Lunch will be served; please RSVP here.

Sociology student David Sorge will present his MA paper entitled, "Riots in India: Emotional Dynamics and the Means of Political Manipulation." Political Science student Basak Taraktas will serve as discussant. 

Abstract: Riots are not random, chaotic events, but show evidence of structure and patterning both at the micro-level of the gathered crowd, and at the level of the multi-day episode. Studying descriptions of 52 riots as well as 3 near-riots in colonial and post-colonial India shows that riotous crowds go through stages of gathering, traveling together, confrontation and standoff, violent breakout, crowd fracture, and evaluative storytelling. In larger episodes, there is a common pattern of escalating processions and demonstrations becoming violent, during which larger crowds are present but violence is less intense and systematic, and a longer period when intensive, systematic violence, including the worst of riotous atrocities are carried out by smaller groups. Throughout, the pattern of violence is shaped both by manipulation through political networks and by the properties of emotions arising in violent situations.  This paper uses Hochschild’s notion of Emotion Work to bridge between analyses based on political manipulation and the utility of riots by Brass, Berenschot, and Wilkinson and the growing literature in the micro-sociology of violence by Collins, Klusemann, and Nassauer.​

If you have questions or are interested in presenting your own work-in-progress at a MARC meeting, please email Rosemary Clark at

This event may be photographed and/or video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes. We also video stream many of these video recordings through the Annenberg web site. By attending or participating in this event, you are giving your consent to be photographed and/or video recorded and you are waiving any and all claims regarding the use of your image by the Annenberg School for Communication. The Annenberg School for Communication, at its discretion, may provide a copy of the photos/footage upon written request.