Riots thrive on excitement. Rioters, according to conventional wisdom, throw rocks and bottles because it offers a thrilling alternative to the mundane routine of everyday life. Journalists portray rioting as an extreme public spectacle, a theatre of violence and mayhem that in its turn whips up heightened emotions in their readers. Politicians, by injecting panic into the popular imagination, add a strong dose of fear and confusion to the mix. In this book, John Owen explores the key factors that lie at the heart of rioting; the causes of riots, the group dynamic before and during the event, crowd morality and behaviour, contributory patterns in media reporting and the influence of different policing strategies. He argues that what sits beneath the veneer of public hysteria is a set of complex relationships and behavioural processes that are central to understanding riots and public disorder.