The Occupation Movements: Acting, Protesting, Criticizing

Occupation Movements
By Stéphanie Dechezelles, Maurice Olive

The paper focuses on the various processes of occupation of places, endeavoring to etch them again into the ideological historicity of oppositional modes of action, into the variability of meanings assigned to them by individuals and citizen groups—heterogeneous themselves— who commit themselves, and primarily into the materiality of the practices engaged therein. Checked against the reviewing of the actors’ social routes, the ethnographic attention focused on the acts carried out within the recreated daily life of occupied places allows us to reveal the importance of the mechanisms of downward social mobility, the experience of life on the margins or exposure to violence while comprehending the processes of engaging in an act of occupation, particularly for actors who have no prior history as activists. Through the conversion of personal experiences of suffering and injustice into a resource for activism, the transforming of commitment into a rhythm of occupational action, both radical and familiar, a place for collective recognition is created, paving the way towards a citizenship experienced as an accomplishment, as it is linked to effective political action.

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