Housing is no longer about having a place to live – but about state pressures to conform, norms and policies regarding citizenship, and practices of surveillance and security. Breaking new ground in the field of urban politics and international relations, Securitization of Property Squatting in Europe examines and critiques legislative initiatives and examines governmental attempts to reframe urban property squatting as a crime and a threat to domestic security.
Using examples from France, Netherlands, Denmark, and Great Britain, Mary Manjikian argues that developments within the European Union – including terrorist attacks in London and Madrid, the rise of right wing extremist parties, and the lifting of barriers to immigration and travel within the EU – have had effects on housing policy, which has become the subject of state security policy in Europe’s urban areas. In Denmark, squatting has often had an ideological, anti-state character. In Paris, housing policy can be viewed as a type of identity politics with squatters as transnational actors who pose a transnational security threat. In Great Britain, the role of the press has created a drive to criminalize squatting. Events in the Netherlands present two competing notions of what housing is – a human right, or an economic good produced by the free market.