Urban Landscapes, Gentrification, and Social Movements in SwedenKimberly A. Creasap
In the three largest cities in Sweden, social movement “scenes”—networks of social movement actors and the places they inhabit—challenge threats such as gentrification. The geography of the built environment influences their ability to lay claim to urban space and to local political processes. In Making a Scene, Kimberly Creasap emphasizes that it is the centrality, concentration, and visibility of these scenes that make them most effective. Whereas some scenes become embedded as part of everyday life—as in Malmö —in contrast, scenes in Göteborg and Stockholm often fail to become part of the fabric of urban neighborhoods.
Creasap investigates key spaces for scenes, from abandoned industrial areas and punk clubs to street festivals, bookstores, and social centers, to show how activists create sites and develop structures of resistance that are anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-gentrification, queer, and feminist. She also charts the relationship between scenes and city spaces to show these autonomous social movements create their own cultural landscapes. Making a Scene encourages critical thinking about spatiality and place in the sociology of social movements and the role of social movements as important actors in urban development.
“Beginning with a charming portrait of one small Swedish neighborhood, Kimberly Creasap demonstrates the power of the concept of a social movement ‘scene,’ a concentrated network of activists and the places they congregate. Scenes are not just a resource for politics; they are an accomplishment in their own right. Who really owns a city? And how?”
—James M. Jasper, author of The Art of Moral Protest : Culture, Biography, and Creativity in Social Movements
“A must-read on autonomous social movements resisting gentrification in Swedish cities that draws on a conceptual apparatus made up of centrality, concentration, and visibility. Making a Scene is rich in contextual detail, description, and, critically, a sense of hope for activists everywhere. Creasap
puts the spatial into the social of social movement research and contributes to the rapidly growing literature on resistance in gentrification studies.”
—Loretta Lees, Incoming Director of the Initiative on Cities at Boston University, and coauthor of Gentrification and Planetary Gentrification
“Creasap examines an important issue in the social movement literature—the centrality of place for the rise and fall of social movements. Introducing the concept of social movement scenes, she theorizes their importance and the interplay between these scenes and the political economies of their cities. Moreover, Making a Scene engages in an interesting discussion of how gentrification contributes to both sharpening the grievances of urban activists and destroying the environment they need to survive and thrive."
—Walter J. Nicholls, Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Immigrant Rights Movement: The Battle over National Citizenship
"Creasap offers the reader ethnographic glimpses and comparisons of the local social movement scenes in Sweden’s three major cities of Stockholm, Göteborg, and Malmö.... (Her) main argument serves as an important contribution to the scholarship on social movement scenes. This book also presents an important call for thinking more critically about spatiality in the sociology of social movements more generally."
"Creasap's comparative analysis of autonomous movements across these three different urban spaces provides a nuanced contribution not just to social movement studies but to urban social science, as well.... Making a Scene provides important insights that will be invaluable for social movement scholars, political sociologists, and urban social scientists studying gentrification and neighborhood change."
"This book contributes to the understanding of autonomist and anarchist movements in Sweden’s three major cities.... Creasap’s concise and clear writing style helps readers follow the storyline and makes the sociological picture of the activist scenes more palatable for a wider, non-academic audience. The book also enriches the literature by analysing urban activism and radical politics in Sweden at a very specific historical period.... (I)t represents a well-crafted research effort and offers important insights to consider when addressing theoretical questions at the intersection of urban sociology, urban movements, and far-left radical politics in the somewhat unique Swedish context."