Social Movement Politics, Everyday Life and Social Change: Struggles in the ‘Sharing Economy’

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Luke YATES, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
This presentation has two parts. The first outlines a set of contemporary challenges for social movement studies, an agenda that calls for better understanding of the relationship between everyday life and social change. These include a politics of alternative projects (as opposed to protest organisations), lifestyle and life politics, a politics of social fields, micro-politics or the ‘politics of politics’, the ‘politics of non-collective actors’, and the politics of imagined futures. Together, these six themes offer a corrective to dominant instrumental and utilitarian approaches to social movements studies and suggest a set of alternative emphases. I introduce these core areas, signalling some key findings to date and areas where development is needed. The second half explores an empirical case study, introducing the political struggles of the so-called ‘sharing economy’. Disputes show how lifestyle, a diffuse emphasis on ‘alternatives’, fields, micropolitics and futures should figure in a properly sociological analysis of these recent struggles. I focus in particular on the short-term rental service Airbnb in the city of Barcelona and at other initiatives of alternative provisioning of housing and living space, to look at how multiple visions of the organisation of urban space, tourism, and housing intersect in an instance of socio-economic change.