When rights need to be (re)claimed: Austerity measures, neoliberal housing policies and anti-eviction activism in Spain

Iker Barbero
Publication date: 
January 2015
Publication type: 
Journal article

Banks in Spain are receiving millions of euros of taxpayers’ money, while hundreds of home owners are being evicted. Unable to continue paying their mortgages because of unemployment or insecure employment, people are chaining themselves to their houses or other symbolic buildings; embarking on indefinite hunger strikes; and suing banks for contract abuse. In effect they are responding to the crisis by claiming and affirming their right to decent housing. Using media, legal-judicial and activist discourses, this commentary investigates the innovative political and legal tactics of the Spanish anti-eviction protests regarding: legal claims, court mediation, dation in payment (full cancellation of mortgage debt when a property is returned to the bank) and the right to relocation. It is argued that, in response to their being constructed by the state as legally incapable, evicted families and individuals are enacting themselves as activist citizens when (re)claiming their right to decent housing.

Critical Social Policy, January 5, 2015


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