Gentrification, resistance, and displacement in Spain

Gentrificación, resistencias y desplazamiento en España


Gentrification, resistance, and displacement in Spain

12 and 13 of December 2013

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]View materials as a result of the seminar CONTESTED CITIES[/pullquote]

The study of the effects of policies and geographies of gentrification in the cities helps to understand better some of the urban policies exclusive and exclusive that are also beset by not only a growing social inequality, but also a segregation of class that is especially visceral in the urban space. The above are called neo-liberal policies of gentrification, which they recognize in terms of governance, neo-liberal this State assistance to the success of the investment capitalist. Now can already be considered as a general rule of urban development, in the framework of the neo-liberal agenda marked, that is to say, as a means to recover the city for business, the middle classes and medium-high and market forces in general. Some evidence could suggest that the symbolic expressions and materials of the gentrification in Spain differ from those studied in the debates in the anglo-saxon (Janoschka, Sequera and Salinas, 2013). To do this, we will establish a dialogue about these ‘emerging geographies of gentrification outside the anglo-saxon world’ (Lees, 2012) that, by their origin and their peculiarities, require significant exploration. In this sense, rather than repeat the various debates and currents discussed from the social sciences for over forty years, what we want to do with this call for papers are proposed to analysis scientifically coherent and politically powerful in order to better understand gentrification in Spain. With that, we want to make reference to the current international discussions and carry out a series of comparisons that focus on the urban realities, Spanish, mattifying and contextualizándolas to adapt the concept of gentrification through its re-articulation of criticism (Robinson, 2011). When you consider the demands on the articulation of ‘thinking located across diverse urban experiences’ (McFarlane and Robinson, 2012), the main objective of the perspective that we want to develop in this workshop could be just the start of a series of possible comparative studies of urban on gentrification outside the anglo-saxon world, which, according to McFarlane and Robinson (2012) do not need to be limited to the examination of interconnections empirical, since comparisons more intentional can offer relevant opportunities to rethink urban concepts key. In this sense, the analysis of the discussions that originated at the beginning of the TWENTY-first century urban planning in Spain, along with experiences accumulated through a network of comparative research in the framework of the network CONTESTED_CITIES, provides clues to how neoliberal capitalism has paved the way for a reappropriation of successive strategic areas of the urban space for specific sectors, generally privileged in the social hierarchy. Therefore, the displacement of direct and indirect suffered by households with low resources is a key component of this strategy, and therefore requires a perspective of explicit and transversal at the same time.

Based on this initial proposal, we propose the development of a seminar that aims to re-signify and adapt the term ‘gentrification’ to the realities of Spanish. If we consider that gentrification is more than the exploitation of a rent of monopoly on the part of investors and speculators, since it also involves a series of capital-cultural, social and symbolic, which determine the effectiveness of this type of processes, we would like to stop in four dimensions, policies and processes close to gentrification:

1. Gentrification commercial

One of the specificities of gentrification in Spain is in the leading role have the commercial establishments to promote or indicate the social changes and displacement. This may be related to tourism, the resource of creativity or the creation of a ‘neighbourhood branding’ as has happened in Madrid in parts of Malasaña (Triball). One of the consequences consists in the progressive displacement of establishments with affordable products for low-income population and its replacement by establishments for middle-class consumers-high. In this sense, there are certain core questions:

  • To what extent the traditional markets have become the new market niches and objects of the gentrification commercial?
  • The urban cultural economy and the mode of extraction capitalist fundamental in the center of the cities, can be considered a model of gentrification for the Spanish cities? And, what is their relationship with resources such as tourism, city brand, or the narrative of the creative city?
  • How can we view, measure and represent that business transformation and the displacement of commercial uses popular that is happening?

2. Gentrification and symbolic public space

We understand that the public space, as a place of possible appropriation of political and popular uses, it is a space of great symbolic importance in the that are captured and develop processes that lead to gentrification and displacement. In this session we aim to explore the effects of contemporaneous policies, especially those that are related to the exercise of control and security over the public space.

  • What are the new forms of displacement and socio-spatial segregation is fed by the policies of securitization and commoditization of the public space?
  • How can we better visualize, measure, and represent the transformation and the removal of certain uses in the public space and claim other uses and forms of appropriation?
  • What helps us the social theory to better understand the crucial role that has the public space for contemporary societies?

3. Gentrification and displacement

The displacement, a factor intrinsic to the production of urban landscapes capitalists that directly affects the urban life of the most vulnerable people, is paradoxically one of the processes that are less studied. Among others, can be defined as an operation that restricts the alternatives of the sectors of society most vulnerable to get a proper place to live – something that happens, especially when other social groups with more economic capital, social and cultural are installed in a neighborhood. We believe urgent and necessary to highlight the different dimensions of the displacement (direct and indirect) and joint investigations that relate to the displacement itself of the critical thinking that is happening in the academy, and the urban policy. In this sense, we have a series of questions that can guide the proposals for the work of this section, as for example:

  • The deepening of the phenomenon of displacement, how can it be measured? And, what should be measured?
  • Where are the life stories of the displaced and how they can be recovered?
  • As social scientists, how can we intervene in public life so that the processes of displacement and expulsion will not occur?
  • What should we include in the analysis of the shifting modes of consumption and life-styles brought about in contemporary cities?
  • Who are the major affected?
  • Are there different waves of displacement in the cities of spain?
  • Can also be the middle-classes displaced?

4. Gentrification and resistance

Unlike the studies on gentrification in the anglo-saxon world, in Spain the studies of the processes of social resistance and the neighborhood to the processes of gentrification are very prominent and important. This indicates interesting links between the academy, the cultural production and artistic counter-hegemonic and the activists of the resistance movements. In this section, we want to stimulate discussion around the following questions:

  • The movements of social resistance that have emerged in the neighborhoods against the policies related to gentrification, can serve as a counterweight to the machinery of government positions on the game board to enable the gentrification of the place? Or, to what degree are co-opted as agents gentrificadores?
  • The emergence of events such as the “15-M”, how have you strengthened the struggles neighborhood?
  • What effects can have the long economic crisis, social and political movements of resistance against gentrification and to what point it is ‘normalized’ policies of gentrification?


We invite all those researchers, activists, and social organizations interested in contributing to the critical debate about gentrification, resistance, and displacement to participate in this call. There are two modalities of participation:

  1. Summary broad communications should have a length of between 2,000 and 2,500 words addressing adequately the study, using a basic outline of introduction, objectives, theoretical framework and results.
  2. Approaches to gentrification from other methodologies, such as photography, videos, multimedia, performances, mappings, collaborative, collective workshops, activism. We are interested in new ways of approach and communication to this problem in urban areas.

Being the deadline for the September 20, 2013, please send proposals to the e-mail [email protected]

In addition to the text that includes the proposal in one of two ways, it should indicate:

  • Full name
  • Institution or organization to which it belongs
  • E-mail
  • Subject line

After the reception of the work and due to the interest by procuring a seminar focusing on the critical debates and group discussions, we will accept 12 proposals to be presented, discussed and subsequently published.

Key dates:

  • 20 September 2013: deadline for receipt of abstracts.
  • 10 October 2013: Communication of accepted proposals for the seminar.
  • 15 November 2013: Submission of working papers extensive of 5,000 to 7,000 words (mode a) or final product (mode b)
  • 01 December 2013: Publication of the final programme.
  • 12 and 13 December 2013: Holding of the seminar CONTESTED_CITIES

More information at:

Literature cited

Janoschka, M.; Sequera, J. and L. Salinas (2013): Gentrification in Spain and Latin America – a Critical Dialogue.International Journal of Urban and Regional Research doi: 10.1111/1468-2427.12030

Lees, L. (2012): The geography of gentrification. Thinking through comparative urbanism. Progress in Human Geography, 38.2, 155-171.

McFarlane, C. and J. Robinson (2012) Introduction – Experiments in Comparative Urbanism. Urban Geography,33.6, 765-773

Robinson, J. (2011) Cities in a World of Cities: The Comparative Gesture. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35.1, 1-23.

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