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Resisting austerity: the spatial politics of solidarity and struggle in Athens, Greece

Arampatzi, Athina (2014) Resisting austerity: the spatial politics of solidarity and struggle in Athens, Greece. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Recent protests occurring in cities around the world have articulated opposition to the ongoing crisis of neoliberal globalization and its outcomes in diverse geographical contexts. From the Spanish ‘Indignados’ to the occupation of Syntagma square in Athens, Greece and the US Occupy movement, emerging forms of contentious politics have reignited critical debates on cities and social movements. However, the underlying processes through which these emerge and develop, as well as their possibilities and limitations in articulating challenges to the latest phase of neoliberal restructuring and austerity, remain nascent. This thesis addresses these underdeveloped analytical foci on emergent contentious politics in austerity-driven contexts through the case of Athens, Greece. Situated within broad debates on cities and the geographies of social movements, it draws on qualitative data gathered during fieldwork and critical engagement in struggles in Athens to examine the processes that enable contentious practices to materialize and expand across space. In particular, I suggest that austerity politics and their outcomes on the city’s population have triggered grassroots responses that contest austerity and produce practical alternatives to address precipitating social reproduction needs. These are articulated through resistance and solidarity practices, which are grounded in local contexts, i.e. neighbourhoods across Athens, and become mutually constituted to broader alternatives and counter-austerity politics that unfold spatially across the city and beyond. In accounting for these, I develop the ideas of ‘struggle communities’ and ‘urban solidarity spaces’ that demonstrate: firstly, the process of the emergence and development of resistance and solidarity practices at the neighbourhood level and their relational links outwards; and, secondly, the process of the expansion of these across city space, nationally and through links to European anti-austerity movements, i.e. networking and cooperation tactics among local initiatives, the formation of a social/ solidarity economy and broader strategies of social empowerment and change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Leeds CMS
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2015 09:35
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2015 09:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9145

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