No Pasaran: Locational Citizenship and Spatial Practices in Exarcheia, Athens

Logothetis, Spyridon (2021). No Pasaran: Locational Citizenship and Spatial Practices in Exarcheia, Athens. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0001345b

Abstract

The present thesis examines how citizenship is defined and re-imagined through acts of claim making that reshape the local topography of a neighbourhood in Athens, Exarcheia. The basis for the argument of this thesis is organized around four ideas. First, it is argued that certain social psychological processes, typically involved in the discursive construction of a citizen, as a citizen-driven formulation, emerge in everyday talk, as utterances that negotiate the purpose or nature of public space and the role of citizens in shaping it according to their values and needs. The second idea relates to the performativity of these place-based processes, and the ways narratives are discursively evoked and spatially deployed to establish a territorial grip to the public spaces of the neighbourhood. Third, it is argued, that this territorial grip is established through rhetorically contesting who is a “legitimate” (and illegitimate) citizen and what is “proper” (or improper) socio-spatial behaviour, giving rise to a series of dilemmas that are particularly prominent when citizenship is examined in relation to public space. Finally, it is argued that their exploration reveals how discursive and physical boundaries are drawn, when people try to rhetorically navigate between competing (and ideologically infused) visions of what “a right to the city” is and who (as an “legitimate” citizen) should be allowed to exercise it. The ultimate goal of this thesis is to demonstrate how the realm of everyday language presents a unique opportunity, to explore how locational versions of citizenship resonate with broader ideological tensions that are relevant to the maintenance or change of established narratives of citizenship and public space, are spatially played out in the locality through restrictions of access and use of it and are discursively worked through denials of others’ citizenship status and it’s included (or precluded) spatial or other entitlements.

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