Making home: Reflections on squatting, protest and private property


Focusing on the alternative property narratives of ‘social centres’, or political squats, Lucy Finchett-Maddock will suggest that these spaces and their communities create their own – resistant – form of law. Matt Fish will discuss his ethnographic research in squatted spaces around London and his experiences as a squatter and academic. He will talk about the questions that squatting as a spatial practice raises in terms of place, place-making and ethical relationships to space in London. Is there any academically useful approach to squatting, or can it only ever be understood when practiced?

Dr Lucy Finchett-Maddock is a lecturer in law at the University of Sussex. Lucy’s work predominantly focuses on the intersection of property within law and resistance, locating adverse possession (squatting) as a space for the other within English land law, interrogating the spatio-temporality of property in relative estates and ‘limitations’ periods of possession in land. Her work also looks to broader questions around law, resistance, legal and illegal understandings of art, aesthetics and politics.

Matt Fish is an ESRC-funded social-anthropolgy PhD candidate under the supervision of Parvathi Raman and Marloes Jansen at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His research is concerned with alternative forms of dwelling and experimental placemaking in the city, focusing specifically on the squatting community in London, and the sorts of radical subjectivities engendered by the kind of relationship to the urban environment.

This seminar is part of the In Theory series, in collaboration with the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East London.

Listen to the recording here:

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