Autonomous Geographies: Activism and Everyday Life in the City

Co-Investigator: Jenny Pickerill (University of Leicester)

The focus of this two-year project (jointly managed between the University of Leeds and University of Leicester) is what we call 'autonomous geographies' - spaces where there is a questioning of laws and social norms, and a desire to create non-capitalist, collective forms of politics, identity and citizenship. We look at how activists make and remake these types of spaces in their everyday lives in cities by asking four main questions:

  • What are the core ideas, beliefs and visions expressed by autonomous groups and projects?
  • How are such ideas translated into action?
  • What kinds of spaces for participation and identity do these ideas and actions create?
  • What does it mean to live in interstitial (in-between) and overlapping spaces?

We are exploring three case studies through which autonomous geographies are made including sustainable 'eco' land-based communities, radical social centres, and community based anti-privatisation networks. The research will employ a participatory action research approach, undertaking participatory observation, life history, interview and focus group work. Dissemination will be through a dedicated project website, and an accessible report and video.

Grant Reference: RES-000-23-0957