A Utopian Approach to Social Transformation: The Role of Urban Social Movements' Fragmentation in Barcelona


Urban social movements (USMs), here broadly defined as to include established protest organisations, neighbourhoods movements and new solidarity initiatives, have become increasingly hybrid and fragmented over time. However, the consequences of fragmentation have been debated, with some arguing that it has weakened the anti-capitalistic meaning of USMs, and others claiming that it has positively changed the meaning of urban struggles. In this work, I systematically analyse the literature about USMs in Barcelona and engage with new theoretical lenses to assess their historical evolution since the 1960s. USMs fragmentation emerges as crucial, as it allows the development of new logics of action, a decrease in the risk of institutional co-optation, and favours the rise of new spaces of alternativeness. Implications about the potential for social transformation in an anti-capitalistic perspectives are discussed.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v16i2p355

Keywords: Erik Olin Wright; fragmentation; logics of transformation; neighbourhoods; urban social movements; utopias


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