Governing the Socio-Cultural Field of the City from the Bottom-up. Potential and Limits of Community-Management in the Case of Barcelona.

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Maria Victoria BELANDO, University of Barcelona, Spain
Global crisis has prompted different social reactions that have been manifested in mobilization and collective organized practices to contest and overcome welfare retrenchment but also to claim the democratization of the forms of governing common goods. Under European austerity policies, cities have become a laboratory of bottom-up initiatives aimed to cover different types of needs. This phenomenon, particularly meaningful in the social and cultural field of cities, is challenging local level state institutions since arise as a socially innovative force that seeks to counterbalance the dominance of bureaucratic and market rationalities in the city. In the case of Barcelona the proliferation since 2008 of self-organized initiatives to transform urban wastelands, old industrial complexes and other infrastructures (many of them state-owned) in socio-cultural spaces, illustrates a new scene regarding community participation through socially innovative initiatives. The aim of this contribution is to study the nature of these socially innovative initiatives and their capacity to contribute to the democratization of decision making processes in urban affairs. We examine this issue by analyzing a significant sample of community-managed socio-cultural centers located in Barcelona that have emerged since 2011 as an outcome of social contestations against the deepening, during the first years of the crisis, of a market-centered view of culture and creativity within urban economic growth strategies. We propose to answer how and to what extent this socially innovative initiatives (1) led to a democratization shift in the forms of governing the socio-cultural field and the city (2) encourage alternative discourses and practices regarding culture and creativity in urban life (3) represents a mean to decommodify social relations and urban dynamics through culture. We have collected data using qualitative methods that include observation, in-depth interviews and the study of documentary sources.