Skip to main content
Research project

Just and Unjust Riots: A Normative Analysis of Militant Protest

Project overview

Despite excellent work in political theory on the normativity of violence and a vast literature on the causes and consequences of riots, there is very little scholarship that asks when and under what conditions might rioting be justified?

This project addresses this gap by analysing recent high-profile riots in Europe and North America to explore this issue from three angles.

1) What is a riot? How can we distinguish riots from other forms of collective political action such as demonstrations, civil disobedience, and rebellion?
2) How does public discourse around rioting shape public perception of the justifiability of the riot?
3) Can a riot be justified? If yes, then how?

The project generates three scholarly articles, a book monograph proposal, three policy roundtables with policy makers and leaders of civil society groups, three policy briefs, and a module in the University of Southampton Research Roadshow.


Lead researcher

Professor Jonathan Havercroft


Research interests

  • 17th Century European Political Theory
  • International Relations Theory
  • Global Constitutionalism

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups