Rising up against the subordination of life in Barcelonès: an ethnography of the struggle of the afectadas for a future without debt chains

by Georgios Azis

Institution: Uppsala University
Year: 2016
Keywords: precariousness; subordination; life process; constellation of forces; Social Sciences; Sociology; Social Anthropology; Samhällsvetenskap; Sociologi; Socialantropologi; Humanities; Other Humanities; Other Humanities not elsewhere specified; Humaniora; Annan humaniora; Övrig annan humaniora; Masters in Humanities, Cultural Anthropology; Masterprogram i humaniora - kulturantropologi; Cultural Anthropology; Kulturantropologi
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2068139
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-276767


The collapse of the Spanish real-estate market in 2007-8, and the colossal destruction of jobs it provoked, put an abrupt end to a decade-long model of growth, which was based on the construction and tourism industries as its primary motors as well as on the massive indebtedness of the labouring masses. In the severe economic downturn that ensued, a social conflict appeared: on the one side, the many indebted people forming the movement of the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) and, on the other side, the financial industry. This study offers an ethnographic account of the aforementioned conflict as it unfolds in the precarious reality of Barcelona and Santa Coloma de Gramenet, with a particular emphasis on the experience and struggle of the affected persons. The argument advanced is that the main predicament of the debt conflict is the subordination of life processes to the imperatives of financial accumulation; a situation enabled by a specific constellation of forces, involving the successive governments of Spain, the financial elite, the police, and the courts.