The Occupy Movement

Introduction by
The Editors

We asked members of the Society and Space editorial board and friends to share brief reflections on the ‘Occupy’ movement. We are delighted to share the pieces below. 


e asked members of the Society and Space editorial board and friends to share brief reflections on the ‘Occupy’ movement. We are delighted to share the pieces below. 

essays in this forum

Translations In The City

Last week, as I cycled to a lecture hall in the early morning, I mulled over what I wanted to tell the students. Geography, wrote Giuseppe Dematteis in 1985, was the ultimate subversive discipline, the only one able to imagine that another world was possible.


Juliet J. Fall

Occupy: Africa?

It is stunning to see the spatial distribution, a great swathe of protests occupying the world map. But what struck me was—apart from South Africa at the southern tip, and Tunisia and Cairo in the North—the apparent absence of the continent of Africa in this transnational movement.


Patricia Noxolo

Occupy: To Dwell In The Space Of Attentive Solicitude

For Native Americans, reclaiming Alcatraz was a statement that possessed tremendous rhetorical power. Indeed, Native Americans were saying that they lived in occupied lands that had been dispossessed from them and that now they ‘occupied’ in order to reclaim.


Eduardo Mendieta

Occupy The Ruins

Occupy Fukushima—and all those ruins in which we still must live. To occupy is to take up the work of living together even where the odds are against us. It is to refuse—and also to recuperate. If we are to live, we must learn to occupy even the most broken spaces of life on earth. Our rage is necessary. Without it, we wither.


Anna L. Tsing

Occupy The Future

Let me argue for a moment that what is fundamentally at stake in the Occupy movement is a claim to the future, and that the temporal imaginations of the movement are perhaps more instructive than its spatialities.


Ananya Roy


Occupy is a universal that calls for a particular. To designate its particular manifestations, the word is hitched to a place-name, the name of a town or city: Occupy Wall Street, Occupy London, Occupy X….


Justin Clemens

Doing Democracy In The Square: Reflections On Occupy, The Indignants, And The Tahrir Demonstrators

In the commenting on the Arab Spring revolutions, most attention has gone to the unexpectedness of the events, the use of social media, and the fragility of the coalitions they appeared to represent. There has been much less reflection on the content of what demonstrators had to say. I suggest that all the movements of 2011 have common antecedents and common ideological elements, in particular articulating a new emphasis on dignity, and a radical concept of democracy as a practice.


Marlies Glasius

Convivial Activism

The occupation in New York erupted at the same time that my father was dying in Seattle, and the two processes – occupation and death – will be forever linked in my mind, and embedded in a sense of family.


Deborah Bird Rose

Mayor, Commonality, And Citizens Of The City Of London V Persons Unknown

Sometimes this anonymity is a mask, a rebuttal at the powers of surveillance or a mask of carnival. Sometimes anonymity is the possibility of community.


Kathryn Yusoff

How To Fight A Derivative

Today, the question of how to protest against deterritorialised, abstract, virtual, circulating, speculative capital has become much more complicated. This is not just because of the emergence of electronic, automated, algorithmic global trading, in which the iconic trading floors of the large Exchanges have given way to computerized visualisations of price fluctuations and yield curves.


Marieke de Goede

V For Visibility

The V masks were initially given away to promote the film, and then sold as a toy, but they became popular with protest groups. Initially they were used by the ‘Anonymous’ group in their campaign against the Church of Scientology, but have been picked up and used by other campaigns since, of which the various Occupy movements are the most visible.


Stuart Elden

Occupying: The Politics Of Process

The act of occupation has been a crucial tactic to open up space for democratic experimentation. By collectively occupying a space there are no guests; we are all hosts. This means we must take responsibility for our space, and find a way of organising ourselves that is acceptable to all.


Sam Halvorsen

Occupy To Get An Occupation?

My American colleague recently wrote recommendation letters for fourteen graduate students—only one of them was lucky enough to get a job. Another colleague’s department has such a huge budget deficit that they are cutting their graduate students off at the legs.


Elena Trubina


Society and Space editorial board member Cynthia Weber’s short film Occupylujah.


Cynthia Weber