Reclaim the City - Between Hope and Anger
Antje Daniel (University of Vienna)
Paper short abstract:
The movement Relcaim the City calls for affordable housing in Cape Town and occupied two houses for people who were evicted due to gentrification processes. The paper analyses the complex interplay of emotions between the occupants, which shape the occupation and collective action.
Paper long abstract:
Cities became more and more key points of transformation and are places for dealing with social conflicts. This is also the case in South Africa: The Capetonian social movement Reclaim the City emerged in 2017 and struggles for citizens' rights - particularly the right for housing. Processes of gentrification challenge this right for adequate housing. Citizens can't afford the rising cost of living and have to move. Once again, in history the most vulnerable groups of the society black and coloured people are affected by evictions. Relcaim the City calls for affordable housing in the inner circle of Cape Town and occupied two houses for the people who were evicted. Based on an ethnographic field research in 2017 and 2018 the presentation investigates the role and social dimensions of occupations and new intrapersonal relations. The occupation creates a new social space for living, interaction and even a place for learning and dreaming. Therefore, the study analyses, on the basis of biographical narratives, the everyday practices and emotions of occupants. The occupations offers a new home for the evicted people which goes along with complex feelings such as relief, hope and anger or frustration due to ongoing conflicts within the occupied houses. Likewise, all occupants are engaged in protest, which requires a shared sense of belonging for organising collective action. Therefore, the paper analyses the complex interplay of emotions between the occupants, which shape the movement, and their collective action.
- Social Anthropology