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    A nomadic war machine in the metropolis: en/countering London’s 21st century housing crisis with Focus E15

    Watt, Paul (2016) A nomadic war machine in the metropolis: en/countering London’s 21st century housing crisis with Focus E15. City 20 (2), pp. 297-320. ISSN 1360-4813.

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    This paper builds upon Colin McFarlane's 2011 call in City for an ‘assemblage urbanism’ to supplement critical urbanism. It does so by mapping the spatio-political contours of London's 21st-century housing crisis through the geophilosophical framework of Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus ([1980] 2013, London: Bloomsbury] and Hardt and Negri's analysis of the metropolis in Commonwealth (2009, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press). The paper examines the Focus E15 housing campaign based around a group of young mothers in the East London borough of Newham. In 2013, the mothers were living in the Focus E15 foyer supported housing unit for young people in Newham, but they were subsequently threatened with eviction as a result of welfare cuts. After successfully contesting the mothers’ own prospective expulsion from the city, the campaign shifted to the broader struggle for ‘social housing not social cleansing’. The paper draws upon participant observation at campaign events and interviews with key members. The Focus E15 campaign has engaged in a series of actions which form a distinctive way of undertaking housing politics in London, a politics that can be understood using a Deleuzoguattarian framework. Several campaign actions, including temporary occupations, are analysed. It is argued that these actions have created ‘smooth space’ in a manner which is to an extent distinctive from many other London housing campaigns which are rooted in a more sedentary defensive approach based around the protection of existing homes and communities—‘our place’. It is such spatio-political creativity—operating as a ‘nomadic war machine'—which has given rise to the high-profile reputation of the Focus E15 campaigners as inspirational young women who do not ‘know their place’.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): assemblage urbanism, Deleuze and Guattari, Hardt and Negri, Focus E15, housing crisis, London, smooth and striated space, nomadic war machine, encounters
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Research Centre: Moving Image, Birkbeck Institute for the (BIMI)
    Depositing User: Paul Watt
    Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2016 14:48
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2017 00:10


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