Simon Peplow



College: College of Humanities
Discipline: History
Department: History

PhD Thesis: 'Race, Policing, and Public Inquiries During the 1980-81 Collective Violence in England'.

Supervisors: Dr Matthias Reiss, and Professor Andrew Thorpe.

My recently completed AHRC-funded PhD in history at the University of Exeter utilised newly released governmental records and other unexamined sources to examine in detail the collective violence throughout England in 1980-81. This study examined the extent to which such actions should be viewed within the 'bargaining by riot' framework as part of broader attempts to increase political participation for black communities within Britain. Furthermore it examined in detail the numerous accusations of misconduct and brutality levelled against the police during the disorders themselves which went unexamined, exploring what was selected to be included within official inquiries into the events. It argues that such refusal by the government and police to admit culpability, or even adequately investigate such allegations, was a continuation of a lack of accountability despite the clear community desire for the legitimacy of state-endorsed investigations. 

Such discussion exists within a wider context regarding police accountability during the period due to recent revelations regarding Hillsborough and the miners’ strike, with my work adding to such discourse. However its focus remains firmly upon the black community of Britain; concluding that the dual attempts of increased political participation through ‘bargaining by riot’, as well as consistent demands for public inquiries and clear desire to remain engaged in the political process, must ultimately be seen as having failed to achieve their immediate aims.

Submitted in July 2015 and viva completed in November 2015 with minor typing corrections, I am currently reworking this for publication as a monograph.

My previous BA and MA research focussed upon the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott, and 1965 Race Relations Act respectively. My main research interests lie in modern British race and immigration history, as well as civil rights and broader modern social and political history - especially within Britain and America.