Indignation and inclusion: Activism, difference, and emergent urban politics in postcrash Madrid

Sophie Gonick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    How to create radical democracy in a moment of crisis and austerity? On the one hand, geographies of autonomy, solidarity, and resistance can offer hope, promise, and utopian anticapitalist alternatives for future action. On the other hand, agonistic initiatives that discard consensus in favor of conflictive engagement with institutions of state rule can allow for pluralism and the acceptance of difference. Perhaps, however, actually existing democracy can be achieved through an emphasis on process that bridges both activist ideologies. Looking to competing forms of activism in Madrid’s housing movement, I identify two strands of action—radical autonomy versus agonistic engagement. Despite their profound disjunctures, however, I argue these strands complement each other to ultimately experience convergence, which in turn contributes to the flourishing of new political initiatives. Within this convergence, feminist perspectives attuned to difference have been crucial in forcing transformation through existing democratic structures. The resulting political projects engage with mechanisms of state rule while drawing on practices and procedures from autonomous struggles to elaborate frameworks for institutional change. In the process, I demonstrate the possibility of collaboration between competing modes of activism—often conceived as incommensurate—in the broader quest for emancipation from neoliberal state rule.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)209-226
    Number of pages18
    JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


    • Social movements
    • Spain
    • autonomy
    • electoral politics
    • gender
    • radical democracy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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