Citizenship in action: squatting and everyday politics
Citizenship in action
Squatting and everyday politics
PhD Researcher, University of Tampere
10.5.2016 Emerging forms of citizenship
Citizenship in Action: Ethnographic Research
on Activism and Everyday Politics
• PhD research (2016-2019)
• Preliminary idea:
• Squatting movement
• (Neighborhood movement)
• (A yet unnamed movement that works with the rights of non-Finnish citizens
who are in a precarious situation – “a sans-papiers movement”)
• How is citizenship practiced in these movements?
• Everyday social practices and how they are political
• What is political action? How is it defined?
• Social movements, new social movements, counter-cultural lifestyles…
• A definition of social movements:
”informal networks, based on shared beliefs and solidarity, which mobilize
about conflictual issues, through the frequent use of various forms of protest”.
(della Porta & Diani 1999)
-> A rather narrow definition
• Finnish political culture and the place of civil society in it
• Peaceful and lawful associations working for the good of the state
• Social movements forming into registered associations
• A definition?
- “Living in or using a dwelling without the consent of the owner” (Mayer 2013)
- Squatting movement?
• Social centres
- Autonomy-ideology (1970’s Italy): autonomy from the state and the market
- Nodal points for political and counter-cultural networks places for meetings
and Do It Yourself-activities
”In squatting, ideology is loosely coupled to practice. Seeing it as loosely
coupled is a way to avoid tripping over some paradoxes, such as that between
the belief espoused by squatters that the squatters’ movement is dominated by
a great revulsion against hierarchical order [and] authority -- and the existence
of hierarchical order and authority -- within the movement”. (Hans Pruijt 2013)
-> The key is to study the practice of squatting
Squatting and the everyday politics
• How is squatting political?
• Ideology and politics reaches nearly all aspects of life through social
practices (dumpster-diving; DIY; refusing hierarchies, sexism and
-> crossing over from the sphere of ”civic” (private ”lifestyles”) to that
-> these social practices are politicized and politicizing
-> demonstrates the overlap and blurry boundaries of the movements
Squatting in Finland / Helsinki
• ”Squatting wave” in Helsinki during the first decade of the 2000’s
• Based on a transnational alter-globalization network
• Autonomy and autonomous social centres…
• …but negotiations with the city
• Master’s Thesis (Jokela 2012) on social centre Satama (2009-2011)
• Dispute over a camp of East European romani
• A turning point for the movement: gained a more anarchist approach and no
longer wanted to negotiate with the city
• Only a few (public) squats after Satama
• Currently, again, a legal squat (Makamik 2013-)
• An overlap (again) with the sans-papiers movement?
• della Porta, Donatella & Diani, Mario (1999): Social Movements. An
Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell publishing.
• Mayer, Margit (2015): Preface. In Squatting in Europe. Radical Spaces,
Urban Struggles, eds. Squatting Europe Kollective. Wivenhoe / Mew York
/Port Watson: Minor Compositions.
• Pruijt, Hans (2013): Squatting in Europe. In Squatting in Europe. Radical
Spaces, Urban Struggles, toim. Squatting Europe Kollective. Wivenhoe /
Mew York /Port Watson: Minor Compositions.
• Yates, Luke (2015): Everyday politics, social practices and movement
networks. Daily life in Barcelona’s social centres. The British Journal of
Sociology 66(2), 236-258.