This study attempts to determine the government responsiveness to intense political protests. This is a measure of the national government. The research contained within this project focuses primarily upon intense political protest theory, and includes an investigation of one particular form of intense political protests, rioting can be understood as a form of these protests because rioters are commonly understood as those who are violently voicing concerns about some event or condition that is unfavorable. This study uses the Los Angeles Riot of 1992 as an example of rioting in the intense political protest framework. The Los Angeles Riot of 1992 also serves as the base model in which riot theories are applied, and conclusions concerning responsiveness from the government is determined. In order to fully understand rioting in an intense political protest framework, a vast amount of information was gathered. The material collected includes the riot theories of Edward C. Banfield, Huey Perry, Robert Dahl, Francis Fox Piven. In addition, Button that discusses there is a mini analysis by James the outcomes of black protest and violence. These individuals represent three very different schools of thought concerning rioting. The schools of thought include the conservative, the pluralist, and the radical. In this study , the theories of Banfield, Perry and Piven are discussed in great detail. The analysis of these theorie allowed me to better understand riot theory, thus personally det ermining piven's Radical Theory of rioting as being the best explanation of the governments responsiveness to the Los Angeles Riot of 1992. This study carefully analyzes the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 and includes a brief account of the civil disturbance. In addition, there is a discussion the problems that existed in Los Angeles prior to the riots. This discussion aids in better understanding the significance of the decisions made by the government to address the problems in Los Angeles. In conducting the case study of the governments responsiveness to intense political protests, it became apparent that the political system is indeed responsive, but the degree in which the system responds is minimal. The government responded to the Los Angeles Riot of 1992 by introducing several measures which included the Quick Fix Emergency Aid Bill, the Depository Institutions Disaster Relief Act of 1992, and the Housing Community Development Act of 1992. In addition, amendments were made to the Job Training Act, and to The Unemployment Compensation Bill. This information suggests that Piven is correct in claiming that the government is not responsive to the needs of rioters because their true needs are not addressed by implementing these type of actions. The basis for this statement is discussed in depth later in this study. In conclusion, this study functions to serve as a means of better understanding rioting and the various ways the government responds to these types of intense political protests. My research has indicated that the government offers the most simplistic means of response to the demands, want, and or needs of rioters. The political system provides additions to preexisting social welfare problems or either creates new ones to address the pleas of rioters. This conclusion proves to be deplorable in that funds already allotted to social welfare have not provided enough assistance in lives of the rioters. This suggests that additional funds from the government will not provide any significant change in the lives of rioters on a whole. This assumption allows readers to understand that no grand rewards are earned through rioting and no reasonable solutions are provided by the government to actually address and prevent other such events. Finally, the government has yet to directly address the underlying problems that caused the Los Angeles Riots of 1992, nor has the political system attempted to find real solutions to address the problems of the inner city. Rioters and those living in the inner-city continue to be dissatisfied with the conditions of their lives and neighborhoods.


Moskowitz, Eric

Second Advisor

Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Urban Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150

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© Copyright 1994 Antoinetter C. Dendtler