Claiming the right to dignity:
New organizations for housing justice in neoliberal Sweden
Carina Listerborn, Irene Molina and Åse Richard
Keywords: activism, dignity, resistance, neoliberal housing policies
The lack of affordable housing for people with low income, shrinking public resources, and new political conflicts threaten the availability of housing, at the same time as aggressive forms of urban renewal are causing displacement through ‘renoviction’, putting tenants in critical situations. In this article, we focus on the acts of resistance and new social organization trends that have emerged in relation to the praxis of renoviction used by landlords and other local authorities, and the frustration caused by this praxis. We claim that these new forms of organization are using the concept of renoviction in articulating current struggles for housing justice. Methodologically, we point out the necessity of urban research conducted in close collaboration with activism, as a way for mutual learning and support. Moreover, we suggest that these acts of resistance should be understood as happening within a broader context of economic and political changes affecting the housing market, and in relation to the increased racialization of poverty and territorial stigmatization in Swedish cities. To illustrate and then strive to understand the ongoing resistance and demands for housing justice, we focus on national activist networks emerging in response to the neoliberal housing crisis. We maintain that emerging resistance in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Uppsala represents a growing claim for housing justice. This resistance is based on people’s everyday lives and is a cry for dignity in neighborhoods neglected by housing companies.