In this book–length study of squatting in Berlin, Alexander Vasudevan examines the everyday practices of squatters in the city and how they speak to wider and enduring questions about the relationship between space, culture and protest. The book reconstructs the complex and uneven history of squatting in Berlin from the extra–parliamentary protests of the late 1960s and early 1970s to contemporary struggles over gentrification and other forms of urban restructuring. It places particular emphasis on the making of a radical urban politics and draws attention to the inventive geographies produced by squatters as both a protest against housing precarity and as a search for alternative forms of shared city life. Building on current debates about the right to the city and the role of grassroots activism in shaping new sites of autonomy and solidarity, Metropolitan Preoccupations offers a fresh critical perspective that combines detailed empirical research with conceptual innovation. At stake here, the book concludes, are important questions about the implications of urban squatting for how we think, research and inhabit the city.
Dr. Alexander Vasudevan is Assistant Professor in Cultural and Historical Geography, School of Geography, University of Nottingham