This paper explores the political significance of narratives of home. Using the aftermath of the 2012 criminalisation of squatting in England and Wales as a case study, the paper traces the ways in which the concept of ‘home’ is deployed to both reinforce neoliberal ideals, and is utilised as a tool of resistance by squatters. This paper focuses on the ways in which particular narratives of home are utilised to shape and legitimise housing policy and legislation such as the criminalisation of squatting through moralising language that delegitimise anti-capitalist homes as ‘nonhomes’. Following this, the paper goes on to explore how tropes and aesthetics of squatting are appropriated, re-narrativised and commercialised by neoliberal stakeholders. The remainder of the paper focuses on the methods by which squatters and other housing activists, too, utilise re-narrativisation tactics. Firstly, I highlight instances in which squatters have subverted assumptions of squats as ‘non-homes’ in order to make themselves invisible, and thus safe, in the urban landscape. Secondly, I explore linguistic methods utilised by squatters as a means of disassociating themselves from negative connotations through re-framing elements of the practice as ‘occupation’. The paper concludes by calling for closer attention to be paid to the political potency of the homespace, and the ways in which narratives of home can be utilised in the pursuit of social justice and anti-capitalist housing models.
Department of Social Sciences
Year of publication: 2020Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-09-21