Interpretive Regimes of Violence in Action. The “Welcome to Hell” Demonstration During the G20 Summit in Hamburg 2017

Chris Schattka examines the origins of violence during the so-called “Welcome to Hell” demonstration, which took place during the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg. Violence is explained by building upon evidence-based concepts, including mass, identity, and emotion. These concepts are each used to analyze unfolding events at demonstrations, but they vary in their inclusion and emphasis on reciprocal dynamics between police and crowd behaviors. Schattka argues that an “interpretative regime” supporting the use of violence developed prior to the Hamburg demonstration, among both police and demonstrators, and this perspective contributed to the outbreak of violence. Interpretive regimes supporting violence are grounded in shared experiences. They arise when the parties involved accuse each other intending to use violence, which justifies and increases the likelihood of their own violent behavior. During the “Welcome to Hell” demonstration, these interpretive regimes persisted until the day of the event and influenced how police and demonstrators interpreted the actions of each other during the demonstration.

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