Authors: Kimberley Kinder*, University of Michigan
Topics: Cultural Geography, Urban Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: Activism, Counter-space, Dissent, Cultural landscapes
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
This presentation interrogates the behind-the-scenes spaces of contentious politics. I ask how and why activists claim space, not for one-off demonstrations, but 365 days a year to create persistent movement spaces operating between spikes of public protest. These behind-the-scenes spaces include quasi-public settings, for instance when activists co-opt storefronts for movement purposes. Based on interview and archival data from seventy-seven activist entrepreneurs using print-based movement spaces nationwide, I use a cultural landscape approach to analyze how retail spaces sustain many overlapping functions. This includes designing spaces to dramatize radical worldviews, governing them to promote progressive social interactions, programming them to facilitate capacity building, and mobilizing them to support public demonstrations. Through these overlay functions, activists transform storefronts into infrastructure for dissent.