Expanding sanctuary: (re)producing relationships of freedom and liberation

Authors: Amanda Matles*, CUNY Graduate Center
Topics: Social Geography
Keywords: Sanctuary, social reproduction, abolition
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Washington 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper discusses preliminary findings of several case studies that document current practices and policies enacted or proposed by community organizations to redefine and expand sanctuary in New York City. Expanded sanctuary can be regarded as both practice and place – a kind of place-making that aims to (re)produce relationships of freedom and liberation with ripple effects at all scales.

Expanding sanctuary builds on the traditions of social movements that prioritized the reproductive time/wages/labor of people of color and demanded it to be recognized and supported by the state.Towards that end, those working to expand sanctuary call for the “reallocation of funding from policing to communities, for housing, schools, and mental health care … to support whole lives”(Bonsu, 2017). As such, expanding sanctuary represents a political terrain of social reproduction where "the contradictions of both the continuation of capitalist social relations and the possibility of their transformation” (Katz, 2017) can be worked out.

In this political and historical moment where “model sanctuary policies … do not yet fully exist or are in the process of being created” (Mijente, 2017), I consider some current practices and visions of expanding sanctuary that might open our imagination to what sanctuary as the repoliticization of social reproduction could be – to see the possibilities of different political terrain from which to imagine and create new models of social life with particular attention to the struggles of building and sustaining economies and communities of care.

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