The outcomes of residential squatting activism in the context of municipalism and capitalism in Madrid and Barcelona (2015–2019)

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationJournal of Urban Affairs
Publication statusOnline published - 4 Nov 2022


This paper discusses the impact of the Spanish housing movement on policies regarding residential squatting of municipalist coalitions in Madrid and Barcelona. Combining literatures on social movement outcomes, new municipalism, and the importance of capitalism for social movement studies, we address the following research questions: How has the Spanish housing movement framed its claims regarding residential squatting? How have these claims impacted policies in Madrid and Barcelona between 2015 and 2019? What explains the differences—if any—in these outcomes? We conclude that—following the 2008 global financial crisis—activists have reframed squatting as a legitimate response to unjust evictions and foreclosures in neoliberal political economies. While this has prompted support from municipalist councilors in both cities, gains have been more substantial in Barcelona. We explain this from variations in political alliances and urban political economies. Our analysis underscores the importance of capitalism in urban and housing movement studies.

Research Area(s)

  • Barcelona, capitalism, Housing movement, Madrid, municipalism, Spain, squatting