Civil disorder, also known as civil unrest or civil strife, is a broad term that is typically used by law enforcement to describe unrest caused by a group of people. Civil disturbance can include a form of protest against major socio-political problems, but also can simply be an expression of antisocial values. It is essentially the breakdown of orderly society, of which examples can include: illegal parades; sit-ins and other forms of obstructions; riots; sabotage; and other forms of crime. Even on occasions where it is typically intended to be a demonstration to the public or the government, such can escalate into general chaos.
Contagion effects and endogenous processes of positive feedback also explains how civil disorder emerges and propagates.
Citizens not directly involved in a civil disorder may have their lives significantly disrupted. Their ability to work, enjoy recreation and in some cases, obtain necessities may be jeopardized. Disruption of infrastructure may occur during very severe events. Public utilities such as water, fuel and electricity may be temporarily unavailable, as well as public infrastructure for communication. Occasionally, the disruption of such services may be the original cause of the disorder. More frequently, the cause of such issues is related to economic stagnation, severe inflation, devaluation of currency, disasters, be they man made or natural, severe unemployment, oppression, political scandal, or, in some countries, sporting events. Civil disorder can occur in any country and environment. Switzerland, a country unaligned with any major organization, saw much civil unrest in the weeks prior to its October 2008 elections.
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- Revolution '67 Film website - Documentary about the Newark, New Jersey race riots of 1967
- Brazil uprising points to rise of leaderless networks
- D.J. FitzGerald - text published by Elsevier Health Sciences 2006, 952 pages, ISBN 0323032532