Last Updated Aug 11, 2011 10:13 AM EDT
But the unrest also has a commercial side -- the rioters used social media techniques previously used by marketers for ad campaigns to organize their insurrection. And once the mobs have gained control of a street, many of them have gone "shopping" -- looting stores for cash and merchandise.
The "untraceable" Blackberry messages rioters have been sending out to incite their comrades have been as much about shopping and "free stuff" as they have been about poverty or injustice at the hands of the police.
The rioters' choice of targets was interesting: There appeared to be no common thread to the stores they chose to loot. Some were obvious brand conscious choices: clothing stores that cater to young people such as Top Shop and JD Sports. Electronics stores seemed obvious targets -- the merchandise is valuable, easily sold and portable -- but why trash women's clothing store Miss Selfridge or Domino's Pizza?
Next: Begin gallery, "Shopping or Looting? 10Brands Targeted by Rioters in England"Â»