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The spatialities of contentious politics

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The question of how space matters to the mobilisation, practices and trajectories of contentious politics has frequently been represented as a politics of scale. Others have focused on place and networks as key spatialities of contentious politics. Yet there are multiple spatialities – scale, place, networks, positionality and mobility – that are implicated in and shape contentious politics. No one of these should be privileged: in practice, participants in contentious politics frequently draw on several at once. It is thus important to consider all of them and the complex ways in which they are co-implicated with one another, with unexpected consequences for contentious politics. This co-implication in practice, and its impact on social movements, is illustrated with the Immigrant Workers’ Freedom Ride in the United States.

Keywords: activism; contentious politics; immigrant rights; social movements; spatialities

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA, Email: 2: Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2008


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