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School of Geography

Cities & Social Justice Projects

Autonomous Geographies: Activism and Everyday Life in the City

PI: Paul Chatterton (University of Leeds)

Co-I: Jenny Pickerill (University of Leicester)

Overview: The focus of this two-year project (jointly managed between the University of Leeds and University of Leicester) is what we call 'autonomous geographies' - spaces where there is a questioning of laws and social norms, and a desire to create non-capitalist, collective forms of politics, identity and citizenship. We look at how activists make and remake these types of spaces in their everyday lives in cities by asking four main questions:

  • What are the core ideas, beliefs and visions expressed by autonomous groups and projects?
  • How are such ideas translated into action?
  • What kinds of spaces for participation and identity do these ideas and actions create?
  • What does it mean to live in interstitial (in-between) and overlapping spaces?

We are exploring three case studies through which autonomous geographies are made including sustainable 'eco' land-based communities, radical social centres, and community based anti-privatisation networks. The research will employ a participatory action research approach, undertaking participatory observation, life history, interview and focus group work. Dissemination will be through a dedicated project website, and an accessible report and video.

Start Date: 01 October 2005

End Date: 31 March 2008

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Grant Reference: RES-000-23-0957

Details: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-000-23-0957/read