Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course


Download this course

Share this free course

Why riot? Community, choices, aspirations
Why riot? Community, choices, aspirations

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1 Why do you make the choices you make?

People make choices every day. But how much do you think about those choices you are making? What processes (if any) do you go through when you make decisions? And what are some of the factors that might influence these choices?

Photograph of shoes on the ground with a question mark painted on the floor and arrows going in different directions.
Figure 3: Why do you make the choices you make?

Let’s go back to the riots that took place across Belfast and other cities in Northern Ireland in the spring of 2021.The riots began in largely Protestant Unionist Loyalist (PUL) areas during a time of political tension. Street violence and clashes took place between PUL youth and the local police force (PSNI) and then at interface areas, between young people from PUL and Catholic/Nationalist/Republican (CNR) communities. A number of people were arrested after these events including teenage boys.

Read these quotes from young people involved in this course, about why young people riot. One quote is from a boy who was involved in the riots and later arrested. The other is from Dylan which you also read in Session 1.

‘There’s loads of kids, like loads of young teens, like myself, they like-- they just want to go out to have fun. Like a riot to them is fun. Like they like fun stuff. I think they got a buzz out of it. Like, see other people, they actually have a point of view of what’s going on. Where most people don’t. They just want to go out and have fun.’

(Young person aged 15)

‘Most people just rely on going out of the house and looking for a riot and going and throwing a few bricks and then the trouble starts and then think that’s how to get their voice heard until they are sitting in the back of a wagon [police van] and going down to Musgrave [a city centre police station] and having to ask a few questions. Why were they there? And why were they doing it? Why were they doing it is the question?’

(Dylan aged 15)

Activity 1: What influences people’s choices?

Timing: 10 minutes
  • What do you think when you read these quotes?
  • Do you recognise any of these feelings?
  • How much do you think the people in the quotes thought before they acted? Is that true for you too?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).