Like Bourgois, work in my own country played a strong role in opening up new questions about violence. The riots that took place over 12 hours in Bradford on 7 July 2001 involved hundreds of young Pakistani males. These males come out of rural Asian and mostly Muslim socialisation cultures (although the vast majority were second-generation immigrants), in which male honour is one of the most dominant socialisation norms. These traditional cultural norms have been fertilized with Western cultural portrayals of masculinity so that the rioters described their violence in language from film and television; it was, they said:

like a mission…James Bond.’…a ‘fight to the finish…a battle…A game…I’m in the middle of a war zone’…’My head went…I don’t take shit off nobody…I am angry…I’ll take him out before he takes me out’…’It does mek yer feel strong, cos yer done it with a load guys and lads. (Bujra and Pearce 2005: 11)

Terrorism, political manipulation, autonomous communication, social mobilisation, and political change: Spain, March 2004

On 11 March 2004, a Madrid-based, mainly Moroccan, radical Islamic group associated with Al-Qaeda conducted in Madrid the largest terrorist attack in Europe, bombing three suburban trains, killing 199 people and wounding over 1,000. The bombing was conducted by remote-control-activated cell phones. Indeed, it was the discovery of a cell phone calling card in an unexploded bag that led to the identification of the phone and the arrest of the culprits. Al-Qaeda took responsibility for the bombing later that evening. The attack took place in a very special political context, four days before the Spanish parliamentary elections, which were dominated by the debate on the participation of Spain in the Iraq war, a policy opposed by the vast majority of Spanish citizens. Yet the conservative party, Partido Popular (PP), was considered the likely winner of the election, based on its record on economic policy and its stand on Basque terrorism. However, in the last weeks before the election the young, charismatic Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero waged an impressive electoral campaign, so that on 10 March 2004 opinion polls rendered the result of the election too close to call one way or another.

European democracy promotion

While democratisation is by no means a new departure for the EU or European bilateral donors, Richard Gillespie and Richard Youngs contend that the US began focusing more systematically on democratisation slightly earlier than the EU and that effective co-ordination of EU democracy promotion efforts has been conspicuously absent (Gillespie and Youngs 2002). They maintain that until the late 1990s, the lack of mechanisms for marrying national initiatives to overall common guidelines on democracy presented a serious challenge to effective concerted European action (Gillespie and Youngs 2000: 6). Discussions on transatlantic democracy building efforts have intensified following September 11 (Schmid and Braizat 2006: 4), but as Jeffrey Kopstein points out, following the war in Iraq, many European leaders and the European public remain suspicious of democracy promotion, interpreting it as ‘a repackaged commitment to the unilateral use of force as well as justification for war and occupation’ (Kopstein 2006: 85).