Housing as a battlefield
Ana Vilenica, Alejandra Reyes, Aysegul Can, Camila Cociña, Felicia Berryessa-Erich, Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia, Melissa García Lamarca, Solange Muñoz
Since October 2023, we have witnessed the human and material devastation brought about by the horrific mediatised genocide of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, itself preceded by a long history of ‘urbicide’—an intentional form of urban destruction characterised by siege and denied rehabilitation (Chiodelli 2022). In his research on modern warfare and ‘domicide’ in Syria (2022), Amar Azzouz has spoken eloquently about ‘…the millions of ordinary people caught up in today’s wars—wars which have transformed streets, towns and neighbourhoods into battlefields.’ With people’s homes at the centre of these battlefields, we are witnessing the socio-spatial ruination of possible futures through rapid mass displacement and violent, deadly dispossession of land and life.
In this Editorial we draw attention to housing as a battlefield—an intentionally aggressive metaphor—because of the violent way people’s homes and livelihoods are being drawn into the discourse and logic of wars and conflicts all over the world in contemporary late capitalism. Such violent forms of housing dispossession occur not only under armed conflicts, but also through institutional forms of housing violations such as recurrent and forced eviction. This is not disconnected from the wider material production of housing injustice, dispossession and homelessness that the RHJ, alongside other critical journals and networks, has sought to historicise, humanise and visibilise with a view towards liberation from, and a transformation of, these processes.