CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Without minimizing the real sufferings of the actors and the macro-social phenomena which generate current inequalities, it seems an opportune time now – in the face of the dominant opinions structured in turn by concern or compassion – to remember that individuals in very precarious situations also have both resources and competences. A study of squats in Marseilles, meaning those vacant but enclosed premises illegally occupied by the homeless, demonstrates the very great diversity in the histories of actual squatters, and in parallel in the types of squats which they set up. However, in addition, any work done on the squats provides a particularly relevant analysis of the know-how and received opinions at work in these areas, which are however marked by their very fragility, and even by violence and delinquency. In the light of the difficulties which squatters encounter when actually squatting, and the capacities they exploit to overcome them – and those aptitudes both practical and cognitive which can then be identified – one comes to understand that squatting can also be seen as an act of resistance, collective or individual, to the exclusion from housing. In consequence it now seems crucial for the community to take note of such aspirations and competences – and to think out with them some new forms for action.

Florence Bouillon
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