Beursplein as b/orderland? Street reflections on the complexities of "right to the city” and significance of everyday “drama” and struggles in public space to urban politics : Case of the occupy movement and Beursplein Amsterdam

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In this thesis I firstly examine key concepts of Lefebvre’s writings on ‘Right to the city’ and literature on Europe’s borders, to link them to the everyday b/ordering practices at an urban public space - Beursplein Amsterdam, amidst the actions of the Occupy movement. In following the actions around the occupy movement at the Beursplein Amsterdam I ask, “Who is/are the ‘we’(s) claiming and/or ‘occupying’ the square (in this case Beursplein)? And how does the ‘we’(s) change (or not) and/or is changed (or not) by the diverse time-spaces of the plein?” I use the concept of “performative action” from performativity theory to analyse the everyday political struggles of b/ordering at the Plein. Further, I argue for the significance of everyday politics of visibility around ‘being seen’ (or not) and ‘seeing’ (or not) amidst multiple b/orders of urban life to urban politics. I do so through narratives, conversations and my own reflections emerging during my fieldwork. By bringing to fore the multiple borders, contestations and conflicts of everyday ‘drama’ and the internal b/ordering of democratic movements such as Occupy, around being at the square that I witnessed and found myself part of, I hope to highlight the complexities of centrality and coming together of ‘inhabitants’ (whom Lefebvre believes have the first and foremost ‘right to the city’) towards subverting the often undemocratic and exclusionary spatio-temporalities of ‘capital’ and ‘the state’. I argue that the Beursplein comes to resemble a b/orderland, where multiple ‘we’(s) are perpetually struggling with and against each other in the everyday drama of performing and/or subverting b/order.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen