Securitization of Property Squatting in Europe
Routledge – 2013 – 246 pages
Housing is no longer about having a place to live – but about state pressures to conform, norms and policies regarding citizenship, and practices of surveillance and security. Breaking new ground in the field of urban politics and international relations, Securitization of Property Squatting in Europe examines and critiques legislative initiatives and examines governmental attempts to reframe urban property squatting as a crime and a threat to domestic security.
Using examples from France, Netherlands, Denmark, and Great Britain, Mary Manjikian argues that developments within the European Union – including terrorist attacks in London and Madrid, the rise of right wing extremist parties, and the lifting of barriers to immigration and travel within the EU – have had effects on housing policy, which has become the subject of state security policy in Europe’s urban areas. In Denmark, squatting has often had an ideological, anti-state character. In Paris, housing policy can be viewed as a type of identity politics with squatters as transnational actors who pose a transnational security threat. In Great Britain, the role of the press has created a drive to criminalize squatting. Events in the Netherlands present two competing notions of what housing is – a human right, or an economic good produced by the free market.
"Mary Manjikian’s book brings the ‘property question’ to the heart of critical debates on security. Manjikian offers a set of fascinating cases across Europe that illuminate important dynamics of contemporary securitizing practices. The securitization of squatting away from earlier social and economic policy debates is enacted across Europe in both similar and differentiated terms, drawing on national and local histories, current crises, and expert knowledge. At the same time, Securitization of Property Squatting in Europe opens an important discussion of desecuritization scenarios and political futures of the ‘property question’."
—Claudia Aradau, King's College London
"This book is a timely and probing analysis of the securitization of squatting. Analyzing modes of squatting, their politicizations and ways of governing them, Manjikian brings detailed insights in the growing securitization of housing. More generally, this book contributes in significant ways to our understanding of the transversal and pervasive nature of contemporary securitizing."
—Jef Huysmans, The Open University
"Manjikian endeavours to set out constructive and realistic evaluations of potential strategies from a securitization perspective, and in doing so casts considerable new light on the changing attitudes of the UK, Danish, French and Dutch states towards the perceived threat of the squatter. As such, this book does much to advance our understandings of the political discourses relating to squatting, and particularly their transnational character. It is an invaluable contribution to the literature on squatting, and will be a primary reference point for those exploring the regulation of squatting across Europe and elsewhere in the world. It deserves to be widely read."
- Lorna Fox O'Mahony,Durham University
Introduction: Housing, Neighbors and the Politics of Fear 1: How We Talk About Squatting 2: Squatting and Anti-Squatting in Britain 3: Incorporating the Enclave of Juliana Christiania 4: Grenoble, 2010: Failed Attempts to Securitize the Roma Squats 5: "The Last Bastion of Squatting in Europe" or the End of Dutch Tolerance 6: Politics of Securitization and Desecuritization
Mary Manjikian is an Assistant Professor at the Robertson School of Government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is the author of Threat Talk: Comparative Politics of Internet Addiction and Apocalypse and Post-Politics: The Romance of the End. She is a former US foreign service officer and has worked in The Netherlands, Russia, Germany, and Bulgaria. In 2013, she is a Fulbright Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Durham University, UK.