(2011) The Struggle for Social Autonomy: Squatting in Europe [ENG]

Domingo 10 de julio de 2011, por Miguel Angel Martinez

Todas las versiones de este artículo: [Español]

Martínez López, M. A. (Director) (2011, July 7). The Struggle for Social Autonomy: Squatting in Europe. International RC21 conference 2011. Lecture conducted from , Amsterdam.


The Struggle for Social Autonomy: What Have We Learnt about Urban Politics from Squatting in Europe?

Miguel Martínez

Paper presented at the International RC21 conference 2011 [The struggle to belong. Dealing with diversity in 21st century urban settings. Amsterdam, 7-9 July 2011]

[Session: 13. Urban politics between contention and control. RT13.2 Radical Potential: http://www.rc21.org/conferences/ams...]

Squatting empty properties for living or to develop public activities has lasted in European cities for more than three decades. Although local and national contexts differ significantly, there are also some general trends and patterns that deserve careful attention. When squatting occasionally appears in public debates, controversy is generated and many gaps open between academic, social and political perceptions. In this article I use evidence from several European cities to argue that the squatters’ movement has produced an original impact in urban politics. The main feature of this impact has been to legitimate a relatively wide autonomous and mainly non-institutional mode of citizen participation, protest and self-management. How has this been possible? Which are the specific contributions made by this urban movement? These are questions that both scholars and activists continuously claim to be relevant, so that this research attempts to offer some general answers based on detailed comparisons and experiences.