Version 3.2_September 2016

Academic Special Session: Accumulation by dispossession, urban and regional social movements and the degrowth prespective: the case of Mediterranean

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During the last years the Mediterranean region and cities balance between the neoliberal growth and the urban and regional degrowth movements. On the one hand, the urban over-investment that aims to the surplus-value and the fast profit, operates on the principle of accumulation by dispossession and is masked behind the idea of a continues economic growth which is directly related on the global and local crises. On the other hand, many of the recent squares movements (Arab Spring, European Mediterranean Indignados movements, squares movements in Turkey), the movements against mining and large projects, as well as the various urban and regional social movements for the commons seem to generate new struggle perspectives and to bring to the fore the issues of degrowth and “buen vivir”, but this does not always happen.
In this context, this session focuses especially on recent urban and regional social movements in the Mediterranean region looking for whether and how the everyday practices open new avenues for degrowth and commons. Indicative examples, among others, are the urban garden collectives, the movements for the free transportation, the collective kitchens, the self-organized social spaces, the self-managed workplaces and the self-organized social centers for immigrants and refugees.
This session is going to discuss the following: a) what are the new large scale projects in the Mediterranean cities and regions and how are they contested by social movements; b) how the urban and regional social movements could contribute to shape horizontal, egalitarian and alternative proposals for the cities