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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.132

Constructing solidarities in an urban space in Madrid: activism and everyday practices



Primary authors


The current economic crisis reveals the social costs of capitalism and of some specific policies promoted by national and transnational agencies. Urban areas such as the Madrid district of Tetuán have been transformed by a process of increasing social inequality. Unemployment, precariousness in the labour market and the weakness of social protection systems have brought a significant part of the population to situations of social emergency. However, in this context there are also certain spaces where different urban dwellers give rise to sociocultural practices of collaboration. From an ethnographic aproach, this study presents three experiences of the 15M movement in Tetuán, where neighbours create informal exchange and self-organization networks in order to face their needs. These groups are capable of transforming situations of exclusion on various scales, from personal to political. However, they also face several difficulties and tensions, specially the increasing bureaucracy and cuts in public services, but also internally, the horizontality and the participation of socially and economically disadvantaged people. There are two movements closely related: the activism, that allows to construct the meaning of social rights by putting pressure on public institutions, and the everyday practices, specially those of people at risk of exclusion, that remark the potentialities of sociability and working together as political constructions. It is interesting to reflect on the capacity of these groups to create collective intelligence and to work for common objectives, because despite the difficulties they have managed to have a significant presence in the local politics.