Protest Through Presence: Spatial Citizenship and Identity Formation in Contestations of Neoliberal Crises

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Robert T. Perdue Ph.D, Assistant Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: We live in a contested, crisis-prone era, indicative of ongoing processes of neoliberalization. The most recent global financial and food crises have disproportionately impacted those already marginalized in society: people of colour and the working classes. The spatial expressions of this disproportionality are especially acute, evidenced by the uneven distribution of the basic necessities of food and home. Activists in the USA are responding with forms of spatial citizenship, namely exercising their right to peaceably assemble and reclaiming public spaces. During the creation of spaces of dissent, we observe the fluid formation of a collective spatialized identity among social movement actors, contingent on political identities and ideology. We use two cases based in Florida to highlight these processes. The first case is a local iteration of the Occupy Wall Street protests, Occupy Gainesville, which has occupied the city’s most central public gathering place, the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. The second case involves Food Not Bombs in the city of Orlando where attempts were made to ban the group from distributing food in public parks to the homeless and working poor. First, these cases highlight the spatiotemporal relationships between unjust economic systems and the state surveillance and policing apparatus and those resisting such systems. Second, they reveal how collective identity influences and in turn is influenced by space. Our article furthers a processual, dynamic understanding of activist mobilizations to reduce the uneven burdens of neoliberalization and argues for greater attention to the spatialities of contentious politics.

Additional Information

Robert Todd Perdue & Joshua Sbicca (2014) "Protest Through Presence: Spatial Citizenship and Identity Formation in Contestations of Neoliberal Crises" Social Movement Studies vol. 13(3) pp.309-327 version of Record Available @ (
Language: English
Date: 2014
Financial crisis, food crisis, space, spatial , politics, citizenship, collective identity, neoliberalization

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