Interrogating Madrid's "Slum of Shame": Urban Expansion, Race, and Place-Based Activisms in the Cañada Real Galiana

Sophie Gonick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Following the spontaneous occupation of Madrid's Puerta del Sol in 2011, many academic accounts have found these mobilizations new and noteworthy for their technological savvy and networked capabilities. In this article, I argue that such depictions fail to capture both the influence of Spanish urbanism's material conditions on certain disadvantaged populations, and the broad diversity of these contemporary activisms. Looking to struggles over the proposed demolition of a squatter settlement in Madrid, I demonstrate how Madrid's planning has propagated racial imaginaries to legitimate dispossession and subvert anti-poverty policies. Second, I examine how resistance and contestation emerge out of specific urban experiences of inequality, and transcend traditional modes of activist organizing through the formation of broad coalitions between various civil society actors. In doing so, I argue that Madrid's mobilizations have paradoxically opened new avenues for the inclusion minority voices, against popular understandings that read rising xenophobia during crisis.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1224-1242
    Number of pages19
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Nov 2015


    • Madrid
    • Neoliberal urbanism
    • Race
    • Social movements
    • Squatter settlements

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Earth-Surface Processes


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