Bitter wins or a long-distance race? Social and political outcomes of the Spanish housing movement

Wednesday 14 March 2018, by Miguel Angel Martinez

All the versions of this article: [English]

Bitter wins or a long-distance race? Social and political outcomes of the Spanish housing movement

Miguel A. Martinez

Housing Studies https://doi.org/10.1080/02673037.20...

This study investigates whether housing movements can produce significant outcomes. In particular, I examine the case of the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH), the main organization in the Spanish housing movement between 2009 and 2017. First, I discuss how their demands were framed according to specific contexts of legitimation. Second, I distinguish the nature and scope of the outcomes produced by this movement. My analysis uniquely combines a critical assessment of the PAH’s achievements with its unintended consequences and the significant social, political and economic contexts that help to explain its major outcomes. The global financial crisis, the convergence of the PAH with other anti-neoliberal movements and shifts among the dominant political parties determine the opportunities and constraints of the PAH’s development. Within this environment, the housing movement strategically operates by framing the culprits of the economic crisis in a new manner and by appealing to a broad social base beyond the impoverished mortgage holders. I also include the capacity of the movement’s organization to last, expand and increase its legitimacy as a relevant socio-political outcome. This is explained here through the articulation of the PAH’s agency (organizational form and protest repertoire) within the aforementioned contexts.