A comparative view on the squatting of houses and social centres / Stream E – Contested cities

Organizer: Miguel A. Martínez (City University of Hong Kong, HK); Luca Pattaroni (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH)

Contact: m.a.martinez@cityu.edu.hk

The squatting of buildings with different purposes has been a widespread practice of contestation to the capitalist city. Although the research in this field grew up remarkable in the last decade, we still miss more comparative works between the squatters’ movements in different cities or between the squatters’ and other urban movements. For example, squatting in Western European cities has received considerable attention while the development of these practices is scholarly more unknown in Eastern Europe, Asia, America and Australia. The convergence and alliances of political squatters with other housing struggles is also an emerging field of interest. In addition, the comparison of the historical evolution of the squatters’ movements seems a promising ground for a deeper understanding of urban movements at large.

We ask for contributions that look closely at the similarities, differences, patterns, contextual explanations, historical backgrounds and distinctive features of the squatting of buildings as an urban movement in various urban settings of the world. Comparative approaches are preferred. Any social science discipline and methodological option are welcome although the emphasis on the social, political and spatial dimensions should be clearly expressed and dealt with.

More specifically, the following comparative questions are suggested:

  • How have the squatters’ movements evolved in different cities?
  • Are significant differences between squatting buildings in Western Europe and elsewhere?
  • How the squatters’ movement have paralleled and interacted with other housing and urban movements (and non-squatted autonomous social centres)?
  • What theoretical approaches can better explain the performance of squatting in different contexts and times?
  • How connected or separated have been the experiences of squatted houses and squatted social centres?
  • How different legal and political frameworks have affected squatting and what effective responses have been produced?
  • Why far-right squats are radically opposed to left-libertarian squats?
  • To what extent the anti-squat companies have been successful?

E7 A comparative view on the squatting of houses and social centres

Chairs: Miguel A. Martínez (City University of Hong Kong) Luca Pattaroni (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

Contacts: m.a.martinez@cityu.edu.hk luca.pattaroni@epfl.ch

Luca Calafati
Institutionalisation without Assimilation: The Development of Bologna’s Social Centres Movement in Comparative Perspective.

Andrej Holm, Armin Khun
Squatting and gentrification. How squatters influence urban developments in their cities?

Galvao Debelle dos Santos, ETC Dee
Examining mainstream media discourses on the squatters’ movements in Barcelona and London

Dominika Polanska, Grzegorz Piotrowski
The development of squatting in Poland: structural conditions and local differences

Pierpaolo Mudu, Andrea Aureli
The logic of squatting within and beyond legality

Distributed papers

Makrygianni Vasiliki, Tsavdaroglou Charalampos
Squatting practices in Greece during a crisis era

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