Cracking buildings, cracking capitalism: antagonism, affect, and the importance of squatting for housing justice

Rowan Tallis Milligan*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that squatting provides a concrete and theoretical location for dismantling binaries between successful and failed resistance. Focusing on the development of a political and affective consciousness and the inherent antagonism within squatting above the temporality of an individual squat or occupation helps to recentre the ‘urban political’ and understand the value and power of the urban commons. I combine radical democracy and affect theory to argue for the centrality of squatting in challenging urban capitalist hegemony. Not only does squatting transform consciousness, but the physically and emotionally supportive practices that it engenders helps to return the emotive as well as the political to the urban environment. I support this claim with reference to the successful 2015 Aylesbury occupation in London, which the occupiers approached with affective solidarity and a desire to reclaim space through antagonistic urban insurrection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-432
Number of pages20
JournalCity
Volume27
Issue number3-4
Early online date8 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Squatting
  • Affect
  • Radical democracy
  • Occupation
  • Urban commons
  • London

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