Politics & Political Theory

Dwelling as politics: An emancipatory praxis of/through care and space in everyday life

Drawing on the theory of the Paradigm of Governing and the Paradigm of Dwelling by the philosopher Fernández-Savater, this paper attempts to theorise a spatial politics of care through an ethnographic analysis of three grassroots initiatives – a social kitchen, an accommodation centre with refugees and a community centre – set up in Athens (Greece) as a counter-response to the crisis politics via austerity enforced in the country (2010–2018), as well as to the renewed EU border system (2016). The everyday politics of these self-organised groups is conceptualised as a Politics of Dwelling. The concept refers to a form of political praxis and capacity forged within the sphere of social reproduction and everyday life. It is argued that Dwelling as politics holds an emancipatory potentiality beyond capitalist relationships, which lies in (1) its situated/embodied nature, which marks collective processes of decision-making and organisation with an ethics of care, (2) the central role that space and material resources play in those processes.

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