Social Movements And The Right To The City

Council for European Studies
Social Movements Research Network Pre-Conference

18-19 June 2019
Madrid, Spain

Call for Papers
 Social Movements And The Right To The City

In recent years, many cities have been strongly affected by a fiscal crisis and austerity measures while facing intensifying dynamics of gentrification and touristification. In this context, housing crises and their consequences as well as, more generally, the right to the city have come to the forefront of the public debate. At the same time, as the examples of Madrid and Barcelona show, city level politics can become an opportunity for social movements to put their claims forward.

More than a decade after the beginning of the mortgage and financial crisis, the housing problem has become more complex, touching several categories of people (owners, tenants, squatters).

Housing demands intersect with a “right to stay put” in gentrifying neighbourhoods, fostering connections between housing rights movements, anti-touristification, and public space rights.

Beyond the housing crisis, gentrification, and touristification, we can see the development of “right to the city” movements all over the world, which stress the need to “inhabit” again the urban space in Henri Lefebvre’s sense : reclaiming the right to participate in the fabric of urban spaces, proposing new meanings for spaces (for example, transforming a place where a hotel had to be built into a kitchen garden), and questioning participatory dynamics imposed from above. In these movements, the construction of the “urban commons” is central and points at broader strategies of resistance in the context of austerity. In some ways, the financial crisis opened a window of opportunity for such more radical urban movements.

This pre-conference focuses on urban contentious actors that are fighting for the right to the city from different perspectives. Its goal is to open an interdisciplinary dialogue which can contribute to improving our understanding of social movements and urban dynamics and their interconnections.

We invite empirical and theoretical papers which can help us understand the various forms of struggle for the right to the city.

This pre-conference aims at fostering substantial discussions and exchanges about the papers. The latter will be circulated among participants two weeks before the pre-conference and each paper will have a discussant. All participants commit themselves to reading the papers of other presenters and participate in the discussions. Insofar as the conference will take place over two days, substantial time will be reserved for discussion.

Eventually, depending on the quality and complementarity of the papers presented, we will publish an edited volume or special issue out of the conference proceedings.


We cannot provide financial support for attending the conference, but there will not be any registration fees.

Abstracts should be 500 words long, in English, and be as specific as possible. Proposals should also include the status and affiliation of all authors.

Please send your abstracts to this address:
Abstract Deadline: 1 November 2018
Decision: 30 November 2018
Submission of Full Paper: 1 June 2019

Proposals will be assessed by the Board of the CES Social Movements Research Network as well as Eduardo Romanos (UCM), who supports this initiative from Madrid: Guya Accornero (Co- Chair), Marcos Ancelovici (Co-Chair), Britta Baumgarten, Montserrat Emperador, Pierre Monforte, and Eduardo Romanos.

The conference will take place at the Puerta de Toledo Campus, of the Universidad Carlos III (Ronda de Toledo, 1, 28005 Madrid). We wish to thank the Universidad Carlos III and the Council for European Studies (CES) for their support in granting us access to the space and we strongly encourage you to also attend the CES annual international conference, which will take place right after our pre-conference, on June 20-22.

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