Commons: a social outcome of the movement of the squares

Angelos Varvarousis, Viviana Asara, Bengi Akbulut

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This paper examines the evolvement of the ‘movement of the squares’ following the end of the more visible cycles of mobilization of the squares´ occupations. We argue that a crucial aspect of this evolution lies in the creation of a social infrastructure of alternative (re)productive projects in the form of commons. We call this type of outcomes ‘social’ in order to distinguish them from the cultural, political and biographical outcomes underlined in typologies on the consequences of social movements. Bridging social movement studies with the literature on the commons, we build a conceptual framework of their relationship. Through a comparative analysis of the movements in Athens and Barcelona, we show how the commoning practices of the square encampments gave rise to more endurable commons disseminated across cities´ social fabrics. We identify both direct and indirect mechanisms of movements´ transmutation into commons, and distinguish the former into transplantation, ideation, and breeding processes. Our second aim is to scrutinize the political dimension of these commons in relation to what has been framed as the ‘post-political condition’. We maintain that the post-square commons constitute political and politicizing actions for activists and users for their effects on everyday life, for their capacity to link their practices with broader, structural dynamics of injustice, inequality and exclusion, and for their selective engagement with counter-austerity politics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Movement Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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