The new issue of Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies 13(3) includes a collection of articles on Occupy Wall Street, one of which I co-authored with Ishan Ashutosh. Our contribution to the collection reflects our particular interest in the question around which it was initially assembled in late 2011: “What happens when OWS goes home?” The entire collection is well worth reading. The abstract for our article is below.
A Movement Returning Home? Occupy Wall Street After the Evictions
This article investigates the possible geographies generated in Occupy Wall Street’s emergence and subsequent evictions from multiple sites of occupation. As Occupy Wall Street (OWS) moves into other spaces, notably the home, we counter the application of a priori analytics of traditional social movement studies, through which OWS would be seen as unified (with leaders, corresponding constituencies, and clearly crafted demands). Instead, we argue for a relational conception of spaces of politics, and emphasize the indeterminate multiplicity that we believe is crucial for ensuring continued critique and agitation. The argument is advanced, first, by considering the theoretical disjuncture between OWS and social movements, and second, by turning to OWS’s geographies of movement and settlement. We conclude by suggesting that, when OWS goes home, it does not retreat from politics. From a relational perspective, the home is itself a space of politics and not a secure, enclosed site to which one returns when the political is left behind.