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Book of the Day: Squatting in Europe

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
19th July 2013


* Book: Squatting in Europe: Radical Spaces, Urban Struggles. Edited by the Squatting Europe Kollective. 2013

Essays by Miguel Martínez, Gianni Piazza, Hans Pruijt, Pierpaolo Mudu, Claudio Cattaneo, Andre Holm, Armin Kuhn, Linus Owens, Florence Bouillon, Thomas Aguilera, and ETC Dee:

“Squatting offers a radical but simple solution to the crises of housing, homelessness, and the lack of social space that mark contemporary society: occupying empty buildings and rebuilding lives and communities in the process. Squatting has a long and complex history, interwoven with the changing and contested nature of urban politics over the last forty years.

Squatting in Europe aims to move beyond the conventional understandings of squatting, investigating its history in Europe over the past four decades. Historical comparisons and analysis blend together in these inquiries into squatting in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and England. In it members of SqEK (Squatting Europe Kollective) explore the diverse, radical, and often controversial nature of squatting as a form of militant research and self-managed knowledge production.

“Amidst the proliferation of post-political banter, it is refreshing to see the time-tested politics of pre-figurative direct action being taking so seriously. This is a must-read for anybody who wants to better understand how the politics of squatting offer a set of transformative strategies for a creating a more egalitarian world. Furthermore, this collection illustrates how such transformative politics so often start in the world’s cities through deliberate organizing and thoughtful reflection by committed groups of activists, scholars and everyday citizens.” — Nik Heynen, University of Georgia

“In an era of austerity, capitalist accumulation by dispossession, and the criminalization of protest this excellent book serves as an inspiring and timely reminder of people’s re-appropriation of urban spaces in order to fashion alternatives to the status quo. Structured around a typology of squatting configurations — as anti-deprivation; entrepreneurial; conservational; political; and alternative housing strategies — this empirically-rich collection of essays by scholars and activists provides persuasive evidence of the creativity and politically transformative potential involved in such practices.” — Paul Routledge, University of Glasgow

Bio: Squatting Europe is a research network focusing on the squatters’ movement. Our aim is to produce reliable and fine-grained knowledge about this movement not only as an end in itself, but also as a public resource, especially for squatters and activists. Critical engagement and comparative approaches are the bases of our project. The group is an open transnational collective (SQEK) whose members represent a diversity of disciplines and fields seeking to understand the issues associated with squats and social centres across Europe.”

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