Transgressive Participation: Housing struggles, occupations and evictions in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandlingMonografi


In recent years, there has been a steady rise in homelessness in almost all EU
countries, while forced evictions have increased in frequency, in number, and
in violence throughout the world. The main housing and policy agendas have
tended to rely upon the creation of market-based housing finance models,
and on the commodification and financialisation of housing, with states
withdrawing from direct housing production. This doctoral thesis
investigates these phenomena by analysing council housing occupations and
evictions from council housing in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. Based on a
15-month study, realised in close engagement with the Habita social
movement association, it combines various approaches, involving multisited,
engaged ethnography, policy analysis, and theoretical and historical

The primary objective of the thesis is to understand the reasons for and
consequences of occupations, analysing them as an experience pertaining to
the everyday sphere of housing exclusions. It examines the current forms of
governance of council estates, investigating the extent to which they promote
housing inclusions. It explores the notion of occupations and evictions as
practices of city-making, inquiring whether and how occupations could
potentially (re)produce new forms of urban citizenship that could challenge
the dominant capitalist and neoliberal forms of production of urban space.
The study looks into the agency and subjectivities of three groups of actors
involved with social housing occupations and evictions: municipal
employees, social movement activists, and women who occupy to contest
their housing exclusion.

The analysis reveals gendered forms of subalternisation, which are also at
times actively produced by the state agents. The invited forms of
participation in processes of urban governance do not allow for substantial
participation in housing issues, which necessitates resorting to transgressive
practices. Occupations can be perceived as a transgressive form of
participation that marginalised urban dwellers opt for in the case of acute
and intense housing exclusion. In this sense, strong similarities in the
contexts of the Global South and Global North can be identified. Engagement
with social movement actors emerges as a valuable tool for contesting the
framings of homelessness as a personal failure, promoting the socialisation
of activism for housing rights instead. The thesis concludes by indicating that
occupations have a high potential capacity to challenge housing exclusions
and to contribute to transformation, yet this capacity is undermined by the
stigmatisation they face due to their radical and transgressive character.
Tilldelande institution
  • Helsingfors universitet
Tilldelningsdatum10 maj 2022
Tryckta ISBN978-951-51-7045-3
Elektroniska ISBN978-951-51-7046-0
StatusPublicerad - 10 maj 2022
MoE-publikationstypG4 Doktorsavhandling (monografi)


  • 5142 Social- och samhällspolitik

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