Budapest bit-by-bit: the everyday practices and politics of future-making

Authors: Shawn Bodden*, University of Edinburgh
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography, Europe
Keywords: Conviviality, Everyday politics, Alternative cultural spaces, Future imaginaries
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 3, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Fundamental to Doreen Massey’s notion of the ongoing ‘event of place’ is its openness and inherent multiplicity, which she juxtaposes with ideologies of inevitability built on stories of progress and modernity. The conflict between these perspectives bespeaks a politics of the possible that seeks to curtail or expand our sense of viable possibilities as we act amongst the temporary constellations of the present. It also warns of the role of certainty—in addition to uncertainty—in crafting the ‘hostile environment’ in contemporary politics.

Today these issues find especial resonance in Hungarian politics, where the ‘illiberal’ government claims its xenophobic vision is ‘the only realistic option’ for the country: it threatens that any deviation would result in cultural, political and social crisis. In opposition to this vision of certainty, however, numerous grassroots initiatives have set out to build alternative cultural spaces which might investigate new possibilities for their communities. Their experimentation in non-hierarchical organisation, DIY construction, and prefigurative politics have created spaces of everyday conviviality and conflict for the diverse groups of activists, students, refugees, artists, neighbours, party-goers and law enforcement who encounter one another inside and around these places.

Drawing upon ongoing doctoral fieldwork volunteering and researching with these spaces, I will discuss the everyday politics of possibility that arise during the practical and speculative work of envisioning, building and sustaining new kinds of spaces and new possibilities for the future.

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