This article is concerned with the question why and how urban space becomes a space of protest and contestation. It argues that protest transforms urban space into an alternative space, in which the conventional practices associated with this space, the space's symbolic functions and the concepts of space themselves are interpreted as means to create power. Protest emerges where the constitutive characteristics of public spaces are restricted, i. e. where accessibility, freedom of conduct and role diversity, and anonymity are limited. After laying the theoretical foundations, the article discusses the typical functions of squares (gatherings and rallies), streets (marches and demonstrations), and parks (festivals, preparation, recreation) for urban protests. It finally discusses the protest practices of the black block, of the occupation of squares, and of Reclaim the Streets in the light of the theories of urban space.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language