Call for Papers: The Spatialities of Protest Camps (RGS-IBG 2012)

Here’s one for our academic readers…  Along with the Protest Camps crew, we are organising a session at the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) Annual Conference at the University of Edinburgh (Tuesday 3 July 2012 to Thursday 5 July 2012).  The session has been sponsored by the RGS-IBG’s Geographies of Justice Working Group.

Session Abstract:
Over the last year, urban protest camps and encampments have captured the world’s attention and imagination. From Tahrir Square to the tent city of Tel Aviv, from the encampments of the Los Indignados in Spain to the Occupy movement, enduring protests have arisen to demand democracy and fight austerity measures. In addition to these protest camp situated within/outside symbolic targets, other kinds of protest camps have grown as a social movement tactic in recent years. These include camps that aim to prevent or disrupt the destruction of a site under social or environmental threat (for example, anti-roads protests, or the solidarity camp that sought to prevent the eviction of Irish Traveller families from their land at Dale Farm in Essex). There have been camps that draw attention to sites posing a specific social, military or environmental threat (for example, the siting of Climate Camps outside oil-fuelled power stations or peace camps outside military installations). Finally, camps have been organised as counter-summits or ‘convergence spaces’ (Routledge 2003) in opposition to strategic meetings of global political leaders.

This session seeks to examine both these recent and contemporary expressions of protest camps, as well as charting the historical geographies of protest encampments in earlier periods. The session is open to a broad interpretation of ‘protest camps’ from physical encampments where protestors lived or other continuous ‘non-stop’ protests through to the picket-lines of long-running industrial strikes. In some cases it is the act of camping that is central, in others it is the duration and creation of a persistent physical infrastructure of protest in situ.

We welcome both empirical and theoretical contributions. Discussion might touch upon, but is not limited to, issues of:

  • Comparisons of protest camps located in different national contexts;
  • Protest camps as convergence spaces and hubs in social movement networks;
  • How (well) tactics travel;
  • The social relations fostered within protest camps;
  • The negotiation of relative privilege and social difference within protest camps;
  • The specific dynamics of camps in urban and rural settings (and the differences between camps in metropolitan centres and smaller regional cities).

Please send abstracts of not more than 250 words to Gavin Brown (gpb10@le.ac.uk), Fabian Frenzel (Fabian.Frenzel@uwe.ac.uk) and Anna Feigenbaum (ANNA.FEIGENBAUM@Richmond.ac.uk) by 13 January 2011.

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About Gavin Brown

Lecturer in Human Geography University of Leicester
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