Beyond proper political squatting

The public and academic debate about urban squatting in Western cities has been dominated by research on collectively organized, politically-motivated occupations. By contrast, occupations promoted to fulfil urgent housing needs by uncoordinated urban poor without any connection with activists (i.e. need-based squatting) have been far less explored. The present paper contributes to filling this research gap concerning squatting as a sheltering strategy by marginalized individuals. To this end, this article focuses on the overlooked phenomenon of the illegal occupation of public buildings for residential purposes in Italy that occurs outside any explicit political framework. In particular, it provides an ethnographic investigation of a case of squatting in an abandoned school located in a public housing neighbourhood in Naples. This investigation is the basis for the conceptualization of a specific type of need-based squatting, that is to say ‘individualistic squatting’, whose specific features (including its distinct political character) are highlighted, together with its peculiarity vis-à-vis other types of need-based squatting.

Esposito E., Chiodelli F. (2023). Beyond proper political squatting: exploring individualistic need-based occupations in a public housing neighbourhood in Naples. Housing Studies, 38(8): 1436-1458

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