Fertile soil: The production of Prefigurative Territories by the Indignados movement in Barcelona

Viviana Asara, Giorgos Kallis

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

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Social movements do not only protest and demand political change - they produce new spaces too. Why and
how? If we understand this, we can appreciate better the specificity and potential of the last cycle of
mobilizations involving the encampment of cities' squares. This paper shows how the Indignados movement
in Barcelona evolved from symbolizing an alternative future in the square to constructing alternatives in the
city after. We find that people in alternative projects re-appropriate and transform urban space because they
want to live differently and produce a radically different city, now. We conceptualize these new spaces as
"prefigurative territories", integrating the seemingly divergent anarchist theory of prefiguration with Lefebvre's
Marxist theory of space production. Prefigurative projects have strategic horizons and struggle with conflicts
when opening up. Against those charging the Indignados with a fetishization of the occupied square and a
failure to achieve political goals, we argue for the continuing relevance of the movement as it moved from the
production of differential, to the production of counter-spaces. Further research should investigate how these
counter-spaces feed into processes of political change.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

SeriesSRE - Discussion Papers

WU Working Paper Series

  • SRE - Discussion Papers

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