[EN] PhD – The Ecological Economics of Urban Squatters in Barcelona

Abstract: The ecological economics of the squatting community (urban and rural) is based on self-organization, mutual aid, reciprocity, urban gathering, material recycling, renewable materials, permaculture and agro-ecology: a bio-economy beyond the market. For the satisfaction of their needs squatters employ their time to use and to develop social and personal capacities more than to sell it to the labour market and to participate in the circulation of money of capitalistic markets. This practice I might call: social ecological economics. As well, the economy of the squatting community is rooted in radical political ideals that differ widely from the average in western society; these are ideals of autonomy, freedom and respect for diverse people and for living beings; a morality that does not always need to coincide with legality. This I might call: political ecological economics.
From my analysis we find that squatters are able to satisfy their needs with a certain degree of autonomy from the money and from the system of man-made production getting free from forms of established control. Rural squatters achieve higher degrees of autonomy from the system of man-made products because they get many satisfiers directly from the surrounding natural environment.
I argue that squatters provide a micro model for local solutions to the ecological crisis: social self-organisation, a process for decision-making which is not top-down neither bottom-up.
The methodology of the thesis is the result of participative observation for several years in which I took part as an academic observer, but primarily as a member of the squatting community.