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Grenfell: from social harm to social murder? Professor Steve Tombs

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Room 714/15, 7th Floor Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham

Edgbaston

Birmingham

B15 2TT

United Kingdom

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Grenfell: from social harm to social murder? Professor Steve Tombs, Open University

We can of course agree that Grenfell was, remains and will continue to be a tragedy of immense proportions. But what does it mean to say this? I intend, in this paper, to examine this question via a social harm perspective. The paper focusses on the aftermaths and consequences of the fire; but in so doing, many of the factors it reveals also help to explain the presence and character of the factors which, in combination, helped to produce a fire which could have such devastating effects. The paper seeks to delineate the various, discrete ways in which distinct types of harms – physical, emotional/psychological, cultural/relational, financial and economic – have been and will continue to be produced by the fire. Some of these are readily apparent, others of these are opaque and obscured. On the basis of these explorations of the range of social harms produced by the fire at Grenfell Tower, I conclude by showing how failures to mitigate these constitutes one manifestation of the more general phenomenon named by Engels as ‘social murder’.

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Room 714/15, 7th Floor Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham

Edgbaston

Birmingham

B15 2TT

United Kingdom

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