Authors: Athina Arampatzi*,
Topics: Political Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Athens, Madrid, Social movements, Southern Europe, Urban governance
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Washington 5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
Recent socio-political developments in Southern Europe have constituted to key opportunities for emergent political actors and the civil society to introduce novel governance mechanisms. These processes, which followed an intense period of social mobilisations and activism since the onset of the crisis in 2011, provide for new lines of investigation into the potential of contestation to transform existing, and produce different, modes of governance, through the re-introduction of practices and demands developed around direct democracy, social solidarity and grassroots re-appropriation of urban space. This contribution will develop a comparative analysis of ongoing governance changes taking place in the cities of Madrid and Athens, looking into the following dimensions: (i) the political transformations, by focusing on the engagement of social movements with institutions, through critique, participation and the creation of spaces of social reproduction, (ii) the social transformations, through the re-introduction of the ‘social’ into economic activity and the development of social/solidarity economies in the context of austerity in the two countries, and (iii) the territorial transformations, expressed primarily through an increasing demand for, and practice of, direct democracy, through territorialised forms of collective action in the two cities. Finally, and along the above lines, the paper will investigate ongoing socio-political developments, the relationship between civil society and emergent political actors and the ways these shape institutional changes, through a comparative perspective between the broader contexts of Spain and Greece.