EN – Analysis of the Squatters’ Movement and Squatted Social Centres in Brighton

The Ebb and Flow of Resistance: Analysis of the Squatters’ Movement and Squatted Social Centres in Brighton by E.T.C. Dee

Abstract: This article analyses a database of 55 squatted social centres in Brighton. By virtue of their public nature, these projects provide a lens through which to examine the local political squatters’ movement, which was often underground, private and hidden (residential squatting in contrast is not profiled). Several relevant non-squatted spaces are also included since they were used as organisational hubs by squatters. The data was gathered from a mixture of participant observation, reference to archive materials, conversations with squatters past and present, academic sources and activist websites. The projects are assessed in turn by time period, duration, type of building occupied and location (by ward). Significant individual projects are described and two boom periods identified, namely the late 1990s and recent years. Reasons for the two peaks in activity are suggested and criticised. It is argued that social centres bloomed in the 1990s as part of the larger anti-globalisation movement and more recently as a tool of resistance against the criminalisation of squatting. Tentative conclusions are reached concerning the cycles, contexts and institutionalisation of the squatters’ movement. It is suggested that the movement exists in ebbs and flows, influenced by factors both internal (such as the small, transitory nature of the milieu) and external (such as frequent evictions). This research feeds into a larger research project (MOVOKEUR) analysing the various squatters’ movement in cities across Western Europe.

Read online at http://www.socresonline.org.uk/19/4/6.html


Base de datos de okupas, sitios de caravanas y terrenos/espacios libres en Berlin-Oeste, Berlin-Este y Berlin (desde octubre 3 de 1990) de los años 1970 hasta la presente

Base de datos de okupas, sitios de caravanas y terrenos/espacios libres en Berlin-Oeste, Berlin-Este y Berlin (desde octubre 3 de 1990) de los años 1970 hasta la presente

Link

Esta base de datos comprende de okupaciones desde hace del ano 1970 y contiene un moton de categorias distintas como duracion de la okupacion, legalizacion o desalojo, propietario, grupos y colectivos oraganizados, actividades del okupa, represion, tipo de contrato, fuentes, paginas web, comentarios, fotos etc.)

Esta base de datos trilingüe (aleman, ingles, castellano) se entiende y considerarse como un producto inacabado, como un trabajo en crearse. Es incompleta y lleno de huecos y por eso mismo queremos pedirles vuestra colaboracion y ayuda y para mejorar, afinar y para hacer mas informativo.

Entonces, si tendras informaciones que faltan o si quereis corrigir algo, porfa contactarnos a vuestra email:

kollektivbibliothek [at] so36 [dot] net

Luego acogeremos vuestras informaciones en la base de datos. Desde ahi los datos se actualizan continuamente y admiten en la pagina web de Berlin Besetzt, el mapa illustrado de ocupaciones en Berlin (http://www.berlin-besetzt.de/).

Esto base de datos trambien se puede ver en la pagina web del colectivo SqEK (http://sqek.squat.net/), una red internacional de activistas y investigador@s que trabaja en el tema de okupaciones asi como en la pagina red del ex-okupa, desde 2009 legalizada New Yorck in Bethanien (www.newyorck.net)

Berlin-Kreuzberg
octubre 2014


[EN] Database of squatted houses, wagon-places and free spaces in West-Berlin, East-Berlin and Berlin (since october 3rd 1990) from 1970 to the present


Database of squatted houses, wagon-places and free spaces
in West-Berlin, East-Berlin and Berlin (since october 3rd 1990) from 1970 to the present

Link

This data base captures occupations since 1970 and and is containing various diffrent categories (duration of occupation, legalization or eviction, ownership, organized groups and collectives, activities, repression, type of contracts, sources, media, webpage, comments, fotos etc.)

The trilingual (german, english, spanish) Datebase can be seen and understood as a unfinished product, as a work in progress.
The database isincomplete and fragmentary and therefore we ask you for your colaboration and support to refine and to arrange it more informative.

So if you got more information, which atre missing or if you wanna correct something, please do not hesitate and contact us at this email:
kollektivbibliothek [at] so36 [dot] net

We will include this information in our Database and then consequently transfered/applied and constantly actualized on the webpage Berlin Besetzt, the illustrated map of squatting in Berlin (http://www.berlin-besetzt.de/).

This Database can also been seen and examined at the webpage of the internatiopnal network SqEK, a network of activists and researchers on the issue of squatting (http://sqek.squat.net/) as well as at the page of the former squat (since 2009 legalized) New Yorck im Bethanien (www.newyorck.net)

Berlin-Kreuzberg, october 2014


[DE] Datenbank besetzter Häuser, Wagenplätze und Freiflächen in West-Berlin, Ost-Berlin und Berlin (seit 03.10.1990) von 1970 bis zur Gegegenwart

Datenbank besetzter Häuser, Wagenplätze und Freiflächen in West-Berlin, Ost-Berlin und Berlin (seit 03.10.1990) von 1970 bis zur Gegegenwart

Link

Diese Datenbank erfasst Besetzungen seit dem Jahr 1970 und enthält eine Menge unterschiedlicher Kategorien (Dauer der Besetzung, Legalisierung oder Räumung, Besitzverhältnisse, Organisierte Gruppen und Kollektive, Aktivitäten, Repression, Art der Verträge, Quellen. Medien, Webseite, Anmerkungen, Fotos usw.)

Die dreisprachige (deutsch, englisch, spanisch) Datenbank ist als unfertiges Erzeugniss, als eine Arbeit im Entstehen zu sehen und zu begreifen.
Sie ist unvollständig und lückenhaft – und deshalb bitten wir um Eure Mitarbeit und Unterstützung, um diese Datenbank zu verfeinern und informativer zu gestalten.

Also wenn Ihr noch Informationen habt, die fehlen oder ihr etwas korrigieren möchtet, bitte kontaktet uns unter folgender email:

kollektivbibliothek [at] so36 [dot] net

Wir werden dann eure Informationen in die Datenbank mit aufnehmen.
Von dort werden die Daten dann in die Webseite Berlin Besetzt, der Illustrierten Karte zu Hausbesetzungen in Berlin (http://www.berlin-besetzt.de/) übertragen und laufend aktualisiert.

Diese Datenbank ist ebenfalls einsehbar auf der Webseite des international agierenden Netzwerkes SqEK von Aktivist*innen und Forscher*innen zu dem Themenkomplex Besetzungen (http://sqek.squat.net/) sowie der Seite der ehemals besetzten, seit 2009 legalisierten New Yorck im Bethanien (www.newyorck.net)

Berlin-Kreuzberg
Oktober 2014


[ES] Presentación MOVOKEUR – EL MOVIMIENTO DE OKUPACIÓN DE VIVIENDAS Y CENTROS SOCIALES EN ESPAÑA Y EN EUROPA: CONTEXTOS, CICLOS, IDENTIDADES E INSTITUCIONALIZACIÓN

EL MOVIMIENTO DE OKUPACIÓN DE VIVIENDAS Y CENTROS SOCIALES EN ESPAÑA Y EN EUROPA: CONTEXTOS, CICLOS, IDENTIDADES E INSTITUCIONALIZACIÓN

Resumen

Desde la década de 1980 se viene reproduciendo en distintas ciudades españolas el llamado “movimiento de okupaciones” de viviendas y “centros sociales autogestionados”. Los orígenes de este movimiento en otras ciudades europeas se remontan, aún, a una década anterior o más, según las variaciones entre países. Pese a la elevada transitoriedad de las experiencias concretas y de sus miembros en cada etapa, es posible observar su consolidación hasta el presente como un nuevo movimiento urbano. En esta investigación pretendemos conocer exhaustiva y comparativamente la dinámica del movimiento de okupaciones en las principales áreas metropolitanas españolas y europeas (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Málaga, Sevilla, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Londres, París, Berlín, Milán y Roma). En particular, nos interesa, ante todo, explicar los procesos de evolución de las okupaciones en cada contexto legal, político y urbano, a través del conocimiento de sus ciclos de movilización, las condiciones y oportunidades de surgimiento y expansión, y sus interacciones estratégicas con las autoridades y con otros colectivos sociales. En ese marco general de análisis nos interrogaremos acerca de dos cuestiones más específicas: a) la construcción de identidades en el movimiento según las prácticas diferenciales de okupación urbana (de viviendas y de centros sociales), las configuraciones simbólicas-culturales, los discursos propios y ajenos, y las redes sociales que los constituyen y apoyan; b) la emergencia de “regímenes de institucionalización” en los que se producen desarrollos flexibles o terminales en las relaciones del movimiento con los propietarios, los gobernantes locales y las instancias judiciales. En definitiva, al dilucidar esas dimensiones podremos verificar las contribuciones del movimiento de okupaciones a las transformaciones urbanas y a las prácticas de socialización, participación, protesta e innovación políticas que, en nuestra hipótesis principal, son atribuidas a la combinación de los cuatro factores mencionados: contextos, ciclos, identidades e institucionalización.

Hipótesis

Los impactos sociales del movimiento de okupaciones están causados por una combinación, variable según las ciudades, de: estructuras contextuales de oportunidad, ciclos de movilización, construcción social de identidades, y procesos de interacción con autoridades y propietarios.

Objetivos generales:

1. Conocer la evolución del movimiento de okupaciones en 12 áreas metropolitanas europeas (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Málaga, Sevilla, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Londres, París, Berlín, Milán y Roma) en función de sus dimensiones sociales, políticas, culturales y urbanas.

2. Determinar las variaciones y pautas comunes entre cada caso metropolitano según sus factores estructurales (contextos, ciclos, identidades y regímenes de institucionalización).

3. Descubrir las relaciones causales entre los factores estructurales y los impactos sociales del movimiento de okupaciones.

Objetivos específicos:

Identificar las singularidades de las estructuras de oportunidad políticas, legales, sociales, urbanas y culturales en cada área metropolitana.

Reconstruir los ciclos de evolución y movilización de los movimientos de okupaciones determinando los factores principales que desencadenaron su surgimiento y expansión.

Comprender los procesos de eficacia simbólica y discursiva por los que se construyen las identidades sociales de los distintos miembros, colaboradores en red y rivales del movimiento de okupaciones.

Analizar las cualidades de cada régimen de institucionalización de acuerdo a las interacciones entre activistas, autoridades y propietarios.

Definir los impactos sociales, políticos, urbanos y culturales del movimiento de okupaciones en los contextos locales, nacionales y europeo.

Metodología

1/ Bases de datos longitudinales (históricas).
2/ Análisis de áreas urbanas y mapas.
3/ Análisis del discurso (entrevistas, vídeos, simbología, textos, páginas web, medios de comunicación…).
4/ Observación participante acerca de prácticas, espacios, conflictos, eventos y discursos.
5/ Análisis de redes sociales.
6/ Encuestas electrónicas.
7/ Talleres y debates públicos.

Plan de trabajo
(consultar cronograma en la memoria extensa del proyecto)
(tareas específicas se definirán en el primer seminario interno)

Resultados
2-3 artículos / año
2-3 “papers” en congresos / año
1 libro final
1 website
2-3 talleres / años
(por lo menos 2-3 miembros del grupo de investigación como autores)

Presupuesto Costes directos

2012 32800
2013 21600
2014 25600
TOTAL 80000

Costes directos incluyen contratación de personal (no miembros del equipo de investigación) (>50% del presupuesto), viajes, dietas, subcontratación, publicaciones, etc.
Preparación del proyecto (3%) y gestión (3%): 4800


[EN / ES] Researches / Investigaciones

MOVOKEUR research / investigaciones:

Databases / Las bases de datos

Posters made for Rome meeting May 2014 /
Carteles realizados para la reunión de Roma mayo 2014

Articles / Artículos

Maps


[EN] Database Presentation

THE SQUATTERS’ MOVEMENT IN SPAIN AND EUROPE: CONTEXTS, CYCLES, IDENTITIES AND INSTITUTIONALISATION

Abstract

The Squatters’ Movement, reclaiming the social use of empty buildings as residential and socio/cultural places, is a cross-European phenomenon that started around the mid 1980s in Spain and some decades before in other countries. In spite of the short duration of many squats and the fast change of activists involved, this urban movement as such has been consolidated among other alternative, new and alter-global social movements. The present research project aims to know the evolution of the Squatters’ Movement in some of the main European metropolitan areas (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga, Seville, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan and Rome). In particular we want to explain that evolution according to the different legal, urban, socio-cultural and political contexts; the different cycles of mobilisation; and the strategic interactions between squatters, authorities, owners and other social organizations. Two principal questions arise within this theoretical framework: a) How social identities are set up through different practices of squatting, cultural expressions, discourses and social networks? b) What kind of ‘institutionalisation regimes’ had taken place according to different urban settings and different models of strategic interactions? Systematic comparison between cities can provide, then, a general test of patterns and relevant singularities in order to verify the influence of the aforementioned four factors (contexts, cycles, identities and institutionalisation) in the outcomes of the Squatters’ Movement: political socialisation and participation, socio-cultural innovation and creation, and urban restructuring.

Hypothesis

Social impacts of the squatters’ movement are caused by a variable combination according to each city, of a) contextual structures of opportunity; b) cycles of mobilisation; c) social construction of identities; d) processes of interaction with authorities and owners.

General Aims:

1. To know the evolution of the squatters’ movement in 12 metropolitan areas (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga, Seville, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan and Rome) according to its social, political, cultural and urban dimensions.

2. To determine the variations between the cases and their common patterns according to the structural factors: contexts, cycles, identities and institutionalisation regimes.

3. To discover the causal relations between the structural factors and the social impacts of the squatters’ movement.

Specific Aims:

To identify the singularities of the political, legal, social, urban and cultural opportunity structures for the squatters’ movement in each metropolitan area.

To establish the cycles of evolution and mobilisation of the squatters’ movements in order to determine the main factors which had an influence on their emergence and expansion.

To know the processes of symbolic and discursive performance which are crucial to define the social identities of squatting and those of the actors involved in their social networks.

To analyse the specific institutionalisation regimes by looking at the interactions between activists, authorities and owners.

To define the social, political, cultural and urban impacts of the squatters’ movements on their local, national and European contexts.

Methodology

1/ Historic data bases.
2/ Analysis of urban areas and maps.
3/ Discourse analysis (interviews, videos, symbols, texts, websites, mass media…).
4/ Participant observation of practices, spaces, conflicts, events and discourses.
5/ Social network analysis.
6/ E-surveys.
7/ Workshops and public debates.

Work Plan
(detailed plans will be defined in the first internal workshop)

Outcomes
2-3 articles / year
2-3 papers at conferences / year
1 final book
1 website
2-3 workshops / year
(at least 2-3 members of the Research Group as authors)

Budget

2012
2013
2014
TOTAL
Direct costs
32800
21600
25600
80000

THE SQUATTERS’ MOVEMENT IN SPAIN AND EUROPE: CONTEXTS, CYCLES, IDENTITIES AND INSTITUTIONALISATION

What do we want to know? // Specific Research Questions

1/ How were cycles, contexts, identities and institutionalisation intertwined? (And how do we define here ‘intertwining’?)

2/ Did that set of interactions make a substantial (and differential) influence in the movement’s outcomes? (And what kind of ‘outcomes’ we are referring to?)

Figure 1: intertwinings and outcomes

-Why squatting is an urban movement and not only an illegal practice or a youth lifestyle?

Possible answers: a) public visibility; b) housing and social centres; c) social networks and other movements; d) youth + social diversity

-Is there specific “European” features of the squatters’ movement in comparison to other countries / regions of the world?

-What makes squatting possible? Socio-spatial and political opportunity structures, city areas, type of buildings, etc.

-Unintended consequences of squatting: gentrification and urban globalisation?

-Movements families, POS and cycles of evolution (McAdam 1995, 1998; Tarrow 1997, Herreros
2004, Owens 2009): social perception, social base, strategic interactions, etc.

-Interactions between squatters and the State: events, organisations, coalitions, coordinations, confrontation and autonomy (Castells 1983, Koopmans 1995, Hamel et al. 2000, Pickvance
2003, Tilly 2010)

-Repertoires of action, self-management, citizenship and impact in urban politics (McKay 1998, Vitale et al. 2007, Membretti 2007, Llobet 2005, Villasante 2006, Lorenzi 2010)

-Systematic comparison between cities and historical approach…

-Flexible and terminal institutionalisation: State (political and legal framework), movement’s cohesion / strategies, types of negotiation / legalisation, attitudes and practices, new institutions.

-Squatted houses and squatted social centres: other types / configurations, predominance, mutual links, non-squatted autonomous social centres, etc.

-Creativity, social activities, social composition, cultural identities, political claims, etc.

[CYCLES]

3/ How different / similar was the evolution of the squatters’ movement in the selected 12 metropolitan areas (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga, Seville, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan and Rome) according to its social, political, cultural and urban dimensions?

3.1/ Which were the specific cycles of evolution and mobilisation of the different
squatters’ movements?

3.2/ Did they fit any metropolitan, national or transnational pattern?

3.3/ How can be explained the average and different durations of squats?

3.4/ Was there any significant concentration of squats in particular urban areas?

3.5/ Are the type of owners of the squatted buildings a crucial factor in order to
understand the kind of lawsuit and the agreements between squatters and owners?

3.6/ What kinds of buildings were subjected to the squatting actions?

3.7/ How important were the squats for housing purposes compared to those aiming to
promote social activities and political claims?

3.8/ Was the evolution of squatting following a parallel or opposing path to that of other
social / urban movements, or to specific urban policies?

3.9/ Was the squatters’ movement the substitute, the follower or the initiator of other
social / urban movements?

3.10/ (Intertwining with identities) How many generations of squatters can be
distinguished and which were their own features?

3.11/ (Intertwining with contexts) What kind of structural factors and contextual
conditions were more influential in order to explain the emergence and, if so, the
expansion, impacts and decline of the squatters’ movement in each metropolitan area?

3.12/ (Intertwining with institutionalisation) How relevant, in quantitative and qualitative
terms, were the cases of squats which reached explicit agreements with private owners
and authorities?

[CONTEXTS]

4/ What kind of socio-spatial and political opportunity structures were the main dimensions for explaining the evolution, practices and impacts of the squatters’ movements?

4.1/ What elements or forces coming from the context outside the movement provide
effective opportunities and threats, favourable or constraining tendencies for its
development?

4.2/ How important were other social movements, activist networks and coalitions of
urban movements (and their strategic choices along recent history) as part of that
influential context?

4.3/ What about the recent local history of interactions between authorities, markets, population and movements?

4.4/ What about other social (demographic trends, ethnic composition, gender
exclusion, cleavages of social class, etc.) and spatial (waves of gentrification, urban
speculation, urban mega-projects, centre-periphery location, urban plans,
privatisation policies, stock of vacancy, etc.) conditions of the neighbourhoods where
squats take place?

4.5/ How do squatters perceive all the opportunities and obstacles embedded in
their specific contexts?

4.6/ Who were the main political allies of squatters (professionals, for instance)?

4.7/ Did the hegemonic mass media operate against or in favour of squatting?

4.8/ Did the cohesion of elites and the degrees of repression over squatters play a
determining role in the impacts of the squatters’ movements?

4.9/ How important was the dialectical relation between the local space and the
global / transnational flows where squatters were also involved?

4.10/ (Intertwining with institutionalisation) Which were the main points of access to
the State and market institutions?

4.11/ (Intertwining with identities) Did the scene of squatting vary among cities
according to specific contextual conditions?

[IDENTITIES]

5/ How was the identity of squatters built up through their concrete practices, activities, discourses and social networks in which they participate?

5.1/ What kinds and degrees of autonomy, self-management, direct democracy and
mutual cooperation were achieved within squats?

5.2/ How deep the everyday life and social relationships were transformed within
squats?

5.3/ Which were the main contradictions experienced by squatters according to their
claims of use value, non-commercial, openness, gender awareness, anti-
authoritarianism, environmentalism, etc.?

5.4/ How did they managed their own public image (as rooted cosmopolitans,
nomadic, precarious, creative people, transgressors, counter-cultural, marginal
youth, etc.) through both mass media and independent media?

5.5/ How did squatters use technologies of communication and intervene in the development of alternative means of communication (e.g. copy-left, open-source, hacking, etc.)?

5.6/ What processes of symbolic and discursive performance were crucial to provide a legitimacy to squatting?

5.7/ Who were the most relevant social actors (enemies / opposing actors, allies, sympathisers, neighbours, indifferent population, etc.) linked to squatters?

5.8/ What kind of interactions did they keep among the different social networks in which squatters were involved?

5.9/ How were the relationships (and liminalities) between squatted houses, squatted Social Centres and non-squatted Social Centres?

5.10/ Was the label of ‘movement’ a relevant one for the self-identification and self-
knowledge of squatters (for instance, as a squatting movement, a housing
movement, a neighbourhood movement or a Social Centres movement)?

5.11/ How was squatting promoted (handbooks, counselling, helping others to squat, etc.)?

5.12/ How socially diverse was the composition of activists, attendants and mobilised sympathisers?

5.13/ What types / configurations of squats could be distinguished according to their main functions, benefits, forms of organisation, etc.?

5.14/ What role did the squats play in the local scene of leisure, sociability, arts and grassroots / radical politics?

5.15/ Which were the predominant repertoires of protest, mobilisation, resistance and political expression in general launched by squatters?

5.16/ (Intertwining with institutionalisation) What symbolic frames were crucial to
drive the processes of institutionalisation?

[INSTITUTIONALISATION]

6/ How were the variations of the ‘institutionalisation regimes’ in each city by looking at, on the one hand, the interactions between activists, authorities and owners, and, on the other, the broad socio-political impact of squatting?

6.1/ Which are the conditions that make possible the specific negotiations between
autonomous activists and city officials, legalisation being one of the possible outcomes?

6.2/ Who takes the initiative of the negotiations?

6.3/ How is this leading role mediated by crucial variables such as mass media coverage, the specific field of public policy involved and the support of formal
organisations?

6.4/ Was the squatters’ concept of the State an influential framework along their
interactions with authorities?

6.5/ What kind of concessions did the squatters obtain due to negotiations and/or legalisations?

6.6/ Were squatters coopted and neutralised as radical activists once the squats were legalised?

6.7/ Was the local squatters’ movement divided into new splits after the legalisation processes?

6.8/ Why some squats had access to negotiations and some others had not?

6.9/ How non-institutional were the squatters’ action repertoire of action, their membership and their ways of decision-making?

6.10/ What aspects of squats (stability, legitimation, alternative culture, etc.) contributed to shape them as ‘anomalous institutions’?

6.11/ How did squatters deal with the legal constraints to their actions and styles of life?

6.12/ Which were the consequences of lawsuits and the different means of legal defence of squats?

[OUTCOMES]

-In the State (law, government, policies…)
-In society (culture, unequalities, access, etc.)
-In the movement/s (empowerment, persistence, etc.)
-In the city fabric (public facilities, housing, diversity, etc.)

Bibliography… 1) upload in sqek.squat.net 2) share in Dropbox or through email

Research Group

Official members:

Miguel Martínez (Madrid)
Hans Pruijt (Rotterdam)
Gianni Piazza (Catania)
Mario Domínguez (Madrid)
Ramón Adell (Madrid)
Elísabeth Lorenzi (Madrid)
Marta Llobet (Barcelona)
Robert González (Barcelona)

Collaborators:

Mercé Cortina (Bilbao)
Nico Sguiglia (Málaga)
Alexandra Hachè (Barcelona)
Pierpaolo Mudu (Rome & Berlin)
Thomas Aguilera (Paris & Madrid)
Angela García (Madrid)
Javier Gil (Madrid & Berlin)
Edward (Brighton & London)
Michael Janochska (Madrid)
Tina Steiger (Copenhagen)
Andre (Berlin)
Galvao Santos (Barcelona)
Deanna Dadusc (London & Amsterdam)
Ceren Akyos (Copenhagen)
Andrea Membretti (Milan)
Alan W. Moore (Madrid & Europe)
Claudio Cattaneo (Barcelona)


Database proposal

THE PROPOSAL

Introduction

SqEK (Squatting Europe Kollective) is a transnational collective of academics and activists working on the phenomenon of squatting in a variety of fields, which include urban studies, sociology, political science, anthropology geography and history. Squatting, the act of occupying an empty building for residential and/or public use without the permission of the owner, occurs across Europe but is relatively under-theorised. One reason for this situation is that there is actually very little data available on the number, type and composition of squats, both current and past. Without this essential primary information, it is difficult to extend the field of study.

In illustration, in the United Kingdom, where the Government recently carried out a Consultation (entitled ‘Dealing with Squatters’), the Government was itself forced to admit that it had no clear figures on the number of squatters throughout the UK. Similar challenges faced the Dutch government before it banned squatting in 2010.

For these reasons, some members of SqEK have decided to gather data on squats in different countries. At this stage, information is being gathered in the United Kingdom,the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands.

Methodology

The SQEK database project is listing squats assessed on varied criteria, which include: name of project / date begun / date ended / legalised or evicted? / political affiliation (if any) / rural or urban / attacked (e.g. by fascists) / website / contact / etc.

Research steps

The SqEK project has so far been helped by regular meetings at conferences, at which members have presented their research since 2009. So far these have taken place in Madrid, Milan, London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen. As the database project expands it has been deemed necessary to set up a separate meeting specifically dedicated to discussion of research and analysis techniques. The research is planned to be published first in English, the lingua franca of the group, and subsequently Italian, Spanish, French and Dutch.

Research questions

Transnational comparison of the squatters’ movement across different European metropolitan areas aims to understand the cycles of evolution of this urban movement. The specific research questions we want to discuss are as follows:

* How different / similar was the evolution of the squatters’ movement in the different European metropolitan areas according to its social, political, cultural and urban dimensions?

* Which were the specific cycles of evolution and mobilisation of the different squatters’ movements?

* Did they fit any metropolitan, national or transnational pattern?

* How can be explained the average and different durations of squats?

* Was there any significant concentration of squats in particular urban areas?

* Are the type of owners of the squatted buildings a crucial factor in order to understand the kind of lawsuit and the agreements between squatters and owners?

* What kinds of buildings were subjected to the squatting actions?

* How important were the squats for housing purposes compared to those aiming to promote social activities and political claims?

* Was the evolution of squatting following a parallel or opposing path to that of other social / urban movements, or to specific urban policies?

* Was the squatters’ movement the substitute, the follower or the initiator of other social / urban movements?

*How many generations of squatters can be distinguished and which were their own features?

* What kind of structural factors and contextual conditions were more influential in order to explain the emergence and, if so, the expansion, impacts and decline of the squatters’ movement in each metropolitan area?

* How relevant, in quantitative and qualitative terms, were the cases of squats which reached explicit agreements with private owners and authorities?

A rough publication plan:

SqEK is currently producing two academic collections of articles previously published in peer-reviewed journals. We would aim to publish the results of our database project in book format, after having published articles analysing the data.

A list of members of the research group:

Senior researchers:

Miguel A. Martínez (coord.) Sociologist and Political Scientist. Spain.
Hans Pruijt. Sociologist. Netherlands.
Pierpaolo Mudu. Geographer. Italy.
Gianni Piazza. Political Scientist. Italy

Junior Researchers:

ETC Dee. Sociologist. United Kingdom.
Thomas Aguilera. Political Scientist. France