Contested crises in Athens and Frankfurt am Main. Productions of space between hegemony and moments.
Debates around the governing of the European debt crisis, austerity and the worldwide political mobilization, beginning 2009, framed the point of departure of the project back in 2012. Especially the movements of the squares 2011 from Tahrir to Puerta del Sol, Syntagma, Rothschild Boulevard and Wall Street – to only name the most prominent ones – were inspiring for the early reflections.
Two aspects lay in the core of the research project: First, an in depth analysis of the history, conflicts and motivations of the political struggles during times of crisis; second, to propose a theoretical perspective to think relationally the political constitution of space and the spatial constitution of politics. The main theoretical references therefore were on the one hand the political Ontology of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe as well as of Jacques Rancière and on the other hand Henri Lefebvres Production of Space. The argument is, in short, that the conflicts, which developed around the European debt crisis, were not only fought out in spatial practices, but that spatial contradictions and conflicts are an important aspect of understanding the conflicts in and over society. The analysis of these spatialized conflicts then is understood as an analysis of the constitution of society itself.
The case studies were located in Athens, Greece and Frankfurt, Germany. In Athens, where the crisis developed with great force and with devastating social consequences, hundreds of thousands of people participated in demonstrations, occupations, the movement of the squares, strikes and in the social solidarity movements. In Frankfurt, the mobilisation was far less wide-ranging. Nevertheless, Blockupy, an alliance of groups and individuals ranging from radical leftists to more modest civil society groups and parties, managed to organize annual days of actions between 2012 and 2015 – most prominent the protest against the opening of the new headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt in March 2015. In Athens, the research focussed on the heterogeneous and manifold cycle of the political mobilization between 2008 and 2015.
The aim was to examine the linkage of different modes of politics: on the one hand very fast and dense moments and on the other hand the strategic building of alliances and groups, whereas in Frankfurt the main focus was laid on the actions of the more or less clear definable Blockupy alliance. The research based on participatory observation, cartographical work and expert interviews as well as on an analysis of political pamphlets, call for actions, local newspapers, parliament decisions and police reports. The project was led by the idea of a reciprocal confrontation of empirical work with theoretical reflection wherefore especially Adele Clarke with her Situational Analysis gave an important guideline.
- Blockupy Fights Back: Global City Formation in Frankfurt am Main after the Financial Crisis | 2018
Schipper, Sebastian/Petzold, Tino/Pohl, Lucas/Mullis, Daniel/Belina, Bernd (2018): Blockupy Fights Back: Global City Formation in Frankfurt am Main after the Financial Crisis, in: Ren, Xuefei/Keil, Roger (eds), The Globalizing Cities Reader, London/New York: Routledge.
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- Krisenproteste in Athen und Frankfurt. Raumproduktionen der Politik zwischen Hegemonie und Moment | 2017
Mullis, Daniel (2017): Krisenproteste in Athen und Frankfurt. Raumproduktionen der Politik zwischen Hegemonie und Moment, Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, www.dampfboot-verlag.de/(...).
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- Crisis & the City: Producing Space on both Sides of the Barricade – The Case of Athens' City Centre | 2016
Mullis, Daniel (2016): Crisis & the City: Producing Space on both Sides of the Barricade – The Case of Athens' City Centre, in: Schönig, Barbara/Schipper, Sebastian (eds), Urban Austerity: Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on Cities in Europe, Berlin: Theater der Zeit, 242–256.
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- Social Protest and its Policing in the „Heart of the European Crisis Regime“: the Case of Blockupy in Frankfurt, Germany | 2016
Mullis, Daniel/Belina, Bernd/Petzold, Tino/Pohl, Lucas/Schipper, Sebastian (2016): Social Protest and its Policing in the „Heart of the European Crisis Regime“: the Case of Blockupy in Frankfurt, Germany, in: Political Geography, 55, 50–59.
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