CALL FOR PAPER, PACO 13(3): 2020


Call for paper for the Special issue on:”

Squatting and Urban Commons: Creating Alternatives to Neoliberalism”

Guest Editors:

Miguel Martínez (Uppsala University)

Dominika Polanska (Uppsala University)


Urban commons – defined as the collective self-management of resources, spaces, services, and institutions located in urban settings which are deemed essential for the social reproduction - are increasingly studied as alternatives to neoliberal urban policies across Europe. This special issue aims to know how they are created and defended. In particular, we ask how urban squatters contribute to engender and take care of urban commons. Squatting -as the unauthorized occupation of buildings for housing, cultural, and political purposes- represents a manifestation of urban commons that has often been ignored. In addition to a protest tactic of specific social movements, urban squatting challenges current privatization and commodification processes. In doing so, squatters usually join other urban activists and campaigns. This implies that squats are crucial nodes in various grassroots coalitions creating urban commons.

This special issue focuses on squatting as an experience significant for promoting urban commons. This means that a squatted Social Centre, squatted houses or squatting activists are the main actors or participate in an activist network that defends, produces or manages a specific urban common. By collecting contributions on the subject, we want to interrogate the achievements and limitations of self-management, as it has been practiced by squatters, and to gather interesting cases assessing the outcomes produced by urban activism/movements in which squatting is a relevant feature.

This means we aim to analyze significant cases of “success” and “failure” in the production of urban commons (according to the activists’ and researchers’ judgements and by taking into account different meanings, possibilities and types of “success-failure”) in order to learn from them. Both ongoing and past experiences can be included as cases. A significant involvement of activists in the research process, not as mere informants, will be crucial in the selection of papers (i.e. bridging academia and activism). This can be divided into two major topics to investigate in every case:1) Self-management1.1) Type of self-management achieved(in its different stages, before and after repression/legalisation, inside and outside the squats, according to different economic and political-ideological components, and so on).1.2) Anti-capitalist dimensions (and contradictions) of squatting for living, for the promotion of Social Centres, for solidarity with vulnerable groups, for contesting urban policies, etc.2) Urban commons2.1) Squatters and squats involved in social movements that defend, manage or create urban commons –how and why?2.2) Contributions of squatting activism to the different forms of “institutionalisation” (legalisation and negotiations with the authorities or owners) or resistance-to-institutionalisation of urban commons (squats included).In addition, case studies may also include analyses about repression and resistance to it. Related issues such as coalitions, brokerage and social dynamics are also welcome, should they help to make sense of the main topics under examination.

We especially welcome cases from “non-Western” contexts.


Submission procedure:

Articles, written in English, should be submitted to the editors according to the following schedule:

- Submission of long abstracts (about 1,000 words): 15th of December 2019

Abstracts must be sufficiently detailed to allow the PACO editorial board to judge the merits of the paper, including:(1) A description of the topic,(2) The theoretical framework,(3) Empirical data, time frame and research methods,(4) FindingsAdditionally, we would like to encourage the contributors to elaborate on 1) justification of the selected case/s, 2) provide details about the forms and degree of involvement of activists in the research process, and 3) the use of “traditional” data collection methods and its motivation.

Abstracts lacking this information will be immediately rejected.

- Selection of long abstracts: 10th of January 2020

- Submission of articles: 27th of April 2020

- Provision of peer review feedback: 15th of June 2020

- Submission of revised drafts: 30th of September 2020

- Publication of the issue: 15th of November 2020


Articles should be no longer than 10,000 words, including notes and references. A maximum of 10 articles will be published.

Please refer to the editorial guidelines available at: address any queries to the Editors

– Proposals and papers have to be sent to the guest editors:

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