Intervention - the Right against the city

“Reclaim our cities”. “Self-organise”. “Take neighbourhood action”. Consider these slogans for a moment. Sound familiar? Indeed they should, echoing as they do a body of scholarship (e.g. Amin and Thrift 2005; Butler 2012; Chatterton 2010; Dikeç 2001; Harvey 2003; Leontidou 2006; 2010; Marcuse 2009; Mayer 2009; Simone 2005) stemming from Henri Lefebvre’s (1996) idea of the ‘Right to the City’ (henceforth ‘RttC’). Despite this common origin, interpretations of the Lefebvrian “right” have been most diverse; perhaps his own often-times abstract writing has inadvertently caused this scholarship to reach outside the confines of his own political allegiance and thought: ten years ago, Mark Purcell (2002) protested that the original RttC notion was more radical than his own concurrent literature would make it appear. But today, a reformist interpretation of Lefebvre might be the least of the worries we are faced with here, on the south-eastern shore of the Mediterranean that is the Greek territory.

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