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Occupied territory at the interstices of the sacred: between capital and community

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  • Political Science

Abstract

During the Occupy London protests of the autumn of 2011 and the spring of 2012, rhetoric and images associated with anti-capitalist protest informed by an imaginary of a moral, territorially defined community caught the imagination of British and global publics. For a brief moment, the ideal of an emplaced community was mobilized to contest some of the most glaring contradictions of the neo-liberal city. I argue that the Occupy protests in London registered a sense of public outrage at the violation of certain otherwise taken-for-granted and thereby concealed, ‘sacred’ norms surrounding what it means to live with others. More concretely I argue that Occupy London was an experiment initiated to open out questions of community, morality and politics, to ask not only what these words mean but also to try to experiment with how they might be mobilized and put to work. These questions were articulated not merely intellectually or verbally between expert interlocutors but lived out through the spatially and temporally embodied occupation of urban space.

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