Organizing with tenants and fighting rightist resentments

A case study from East Germany

Leon Rosa Reichle, Peter Bescherer

Published in Issue 3.1 // The Long Read

Keywords: racism, East Germany, intervention, housing commodification, residential alienation


Through two neighborhood case studies in the rapidly upgrading East German city of Leipzig we discuss political implications of urban restructuring. Scrutinizing tenants’ rightist and racist reactions to the housing question, we argue that residential alienation affects people’s sense of place in a divisive manner, which in turn impacts both their interpretations of urban change and their respective practices. Based on our analyses of scapegoating and territorial stigma, we critically discuss the potential of activist intervention, drawing from two qualitative and ethnographic research projects, as well as activist experience in neighbourhood organizing.

Leon Rosa Reichle is a PhD student at the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity, De Montfort University Leicester, currently working at the intersection of political sociology, social theory and critical housing studies. They explore tenants’ relations on different scales and levels, academically and politically.

Peter Bescherer is a researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Jena. His work focuses on social theory, urban research, social movements and democratic theory. He’s also an activist, struggling for affordable housing and neighbourhood solidarity in Leipzig.

Download PDF

See article reference