Riots are a really interesting community concept. Almost instantaneously, people who had no previous connection come together to form an extreme collective action for the same cause.
Would you consider a riot to be a community?
I'd offer that flashmobs are a better example? Riots tend to be impromptu, and at least when they've happened in the city I've been in they were fueled by a small core community that already exists (anarchists, punks) and consciously takes advantage of the crowd dynamic to launch mayhem.
There's lessons there for sure, but as a riot's community doesn't exist the second it ends, I'm more inclined to use flashmobs as a 'model' to be learned from.
Though I've never taken part in a riot before – fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it – I would say that protests definitely feel like a community. So do crowds at sporting events. Any time a group of people congregate for a shared purpose/cause, I'd so it's a community of some sort.
I think riots are the temporary manifestation of an idea, mostly an anger-induced one. It really depends on the motivation of the mob. There are negative ones, like the riots after the SF Giants win where people exercised their right to assemble through destruction. Other mobs, perhaps Occupy, are idealogical in nature and bring something slightly social positive to the table.
I wouldn't consider riots a community. Communities are long lasting and much more permanent than a mob. Good question :)
Etan: interesting take on negative vs positive. For the Giants World Series riots, I'd point out that they came from positive motivations. Everyone was happy, but they expressed themselves in a manner that resulted in destruction (negative).
I'd argue that even in the most negative riots, everyone in it is so amped up and excited, they have positivity. They feel like they're doing something, like they're making something happen.
That excitement to be a part of something and bring change through collective action... that part sounds a lot like community to me.
Thanks for your feedback! Team Branch