Housing Struggles: Integration, Recognition and Political Activism
The aim of this paper is to explore possibilities for understanding social movements, particularly those related to housing. It will analyse how housing can influence political action of individuals and how it affects the way these individuals recognize themselves as citizens. This will be done by engaging two different concepts – recognition (Honneth, 2003) and integration (Paugam, 2015). In doing this, I will shed a light on how housing and neighbourhood relations may affect the way citizens come together to act publically in search of more justice, specifically in relation to public policies and urban democracy. The discussion will be followed by an attempt to connect these issues to perspectives related to urban studies.
Literature on urban sociology tends to portray the experience of living in a city as an “experience of encounter”. (MCDONALD, 1999: 45). Lefebvre (1991), for example, proposes that having the right to the city means participating in the decisions and the social life that go on within it. Space appears as a key factor that may encourage democratic participation, for which integration is essential. For Paugam (2015), integration can only be achieved when individuals' rights are secured by laws or normative ties. For instance, weak citizenship ties may take material form as the absence of documents proving legal belonging to a city. The importance of having rights secured by institutions is also one of the major issues in Honneth’s (2003) work. By exploring experiences of disrespect, he offers a new form of interpreting how they can unfold in social tensions that lead to conflict. Using both perspectives is an attempt to understand how individual experiences on housing could lead to collective action.