Socio-spatial justice: the social struggle for the access to basic rights such as housing or supplies in Spain

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About one million and a half families live in Spain in self-built housing with an informal access to the supplies, to which more than 700,000 families have been added after being evicted from their homes after the crash of the real estate market in 2008. The response of Spanish local communities has been the emergence of a networked social movement called Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH; the Spanish Mortgage Victims Group) that aims at building a sustainable future by claiming the right to housing and other rights like electricity supplies. This networked movement has been fueled by its ability to create a hybrid space between communication networks and occupied urban space in which face-to face assemblies and protests take place. The modes to operate of the PAH have been replicated by other movements, and their logics have contributed to transforming institutions and their political agenda. In this work we want to show the impact of the economic recession on the access for communities and families to the basics rights as housing or the electricity supplies, as well as the dissemination of the PAH's logics to other actors as the way to address the challenge. In this paper we are willing to unpack the concept of hybrid space, developed by Manuel Castells and informed by the dynamics of the PAH and to other movements emerged by imitation of the PAH. We will also analyze the impact of the struggles of these movements in the transformation of the political agendas made by the new institutional spaces such as in Madrid or Barcelona. All of this will be done by a close look of the PAH and other movements, via participation in assemblies and the observation of other activities such as their use of social networks as well as by interviewing other actors and observing the new policies proposed in the medias regarding the right to housing or to electricity supply. Finally, we will discuss how networked urban social movements as PAH have the ability to create spaces of citizenship that challenge the taken-for-granted principles of capitalism, such as the powerful discourse about the primacy of property rights over the right to housing.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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