Vecinas ≠ neighbours:

Language politics in the struggle for housing in Barcelona

Carla Rivera Blanco, Melissa García-Lamarca, Mara Ferreri in conversation with members of struggles for housing in Barcelona

Published in Issue 3.2 // Conversations

Keywords: neighbour, language politics, resident, Lexicons of housing struggle


This Conversation emerges from Radical Housing Journal collaborators’ curiosity and reflections about the growing use of the term vecinas —in English, neighbour— among housing movements in Barcelona in recent years. From our participation in the fight for the right to housing in this city, we wanted to more deeply explore the dynamics behind the word vecinas through a conversation with three housing activists based in Barcelona’s Sant Andreu neighbourhood. From their experiences and activism, they explain the meanings of vecinas, to what extent its use signals a discursive turn, the reason for its feminisation and the convergences and divergences —and also the inclusiveness / exclusivity— in its use by different groups. Finally, they reflect on what vecinas has meant during the Covid-19 pandemic and the ‘no return to normality’.

A Spanish language version of this Conversation piece can be found here.

Carla Rivera Blanco is a member of the Observatory on the Anthropology of Urban Conflict (OACU).

Melissa García-Lamarca and Mara Ferreri are members of the RHJ editorial collective.

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