Between hope and despair
How racism and anti-racism produce Madrid
in European cities
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This chapter explores the transformations of anti-racist discourses, practices and alliances over the last several years through the case of two neighbourhoods in Madrid. Bridging the fields of urban studies on the one hand and migration, racism and anti-racism studies on the other, the aim of the chapter is to show how changes in the types of activism and changes in the city are interconnected. A qualitative methodology was employed involving face-to-face and social media participant observation, as well as semi-structured in-depth interviews. The structure of the chapter is as follows: firstly, the study is placed within the framework of theoretical debates on racism and anti-racism, with special emphasis on the Spanish context. Secondly, the perspectives on racialisation, belonging, ethnicity and activism are connected to the analysis of urban space at the neighbourhood level. This contextualisation allows me to present the case studies of the two specific neighbourhoods, Lavapiés and Usera, which represent different problematics and different forms of activist organisation around the right to the city. In addition, a third activist and spatial context connects neighbourhoods and activist experiences by drawing attention to a new stage and forms of anti-racist organising by migrants and racialised people. In this way, the chapter aims to draw attention to the ways that institutional and economic urban violence take very different expressions for white Spaniards and for migrant and racialised people and affects them in very different ways in their life trajectories and struggle for living with dignity in the neighbourhood.

European cities

Modernity, race and colonialism

Editors: Noa K. Ha and Giovanni Picker


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