I have a new book, just out, on protest camps and political activism. I co-edited ‘Protest Camps in International Context: spaces, infrastructures, and media of resistance’, with my colleague, Fabian Frenzel from the University of Leicester School of Business, alongside Anna Feigenbaum from Bournemouth University and Patrick McCurdy from the University of Ottawa. The book draws together an international collection of authors and case studies to examine how the practice of protest camping has spread over the last decade.
Since the pro-democracy gatherings of the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement in 2011, protest camps have been prominent in many recent expressions of contentious politics, covering a diverse range of demands for social change.
Our new book presents international and interdisciplinary case studies from five continents and is the first collection to focus on protest camps as a unique organisational form that transcends the context and histories of specific social movements.
The collaboration that led to us editing Protest Camps in International Context started around the time I began my research into the anti-apartheid Non-Stop Picket of the South African embassy in London, and Anna, Fabian and Patrick were working on their earlier book about protest camps. Workshops and a writing retreat which helped us develop the ideas for the book, and brought many of the individual contributors into dialogue with each other, were generously supported by the Department of Geography and the School of Management (now Business) at the University of Leicester.
As the book’s back cover states: “Whether they are erected in a park in Istanbul or a street in Mexico City, the significance of political encampments rests in their position as distinctive spaces, where people come together to imagine alternative ways of organising society and the world.”
We believe that the interdisciplinary nature of this collection helps examine and understand the multiple different ways in which protest camps are assembled, take form, occupy space, function, and communicate their political message.
For Fabian, “One of the key contributions of this book is an exploration of the links and similarities between contentious protest camps and other forms of informal settlement and encampments. Unlike other forms of political protest, as a result of their long-term, emplaced nature, protest camps are forced to address questions of shelter, sustenance, and sanitation.”
Further information about Protest Camps in International Context: spaces, infrastructures, and media of resistance can be found at: http://policypress.co.uk/protest-camps-in-international-context
Protest Camps in International Context: spaces, infrastructures, and media of resistance was published by Policy Press on 29 March price £75. It is available at 20% discount from their website or 35% discount if you join their mailing list. We hope that a cheaper, paperback edition will be published in due course.