Over the last few days, I have read many arguments in the blogs about what is really causing the French riots. As people have variously mentioned, there are no doubt countless forces behind the trouble, from organized crime to Jihadist rhetorics and possibly recruiters, from corrupt politicos and state ideologies to high unemployment, testosterone, cultural separatism, racism, and the inability of France to articulate a vision to which immigrants might belong. All these explanations seem good as far as they go; they are at least necessary if not sufficient to fully explain the present scene.
Yet I wonder if there is not something to be gained by further reflecting on how we attribute blame for such violent social eruptions. The immediate or proximate causes of riots are much less easy to identify than are the name games we play in our attempts to stamp our meaning or sense of historical direction on the event.
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