To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

What we talk about when we talk about decline: Competing narratives in the Amsterdam squatters’ movement

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change

ISBN: 978-1-84663-892-3, eISBN: 978-1-84663-893-0

ISSN: 0163-786X

Publication date: 17 December 2008

Abstract

This article analyzes the decline of the Amsterdam squatters’ movement, examining not why the movement declined, but how. I argue decline is a critical moment for activists, one full of creative action. Decline is a defining moment through which the present, past, and future are interpreted. Narratives are key to understanding this process. As the movement emergence narrative declined, competing narratives of decline emerged. The widening chasm between the initial story and the movement's status compelled activists to choose between saving the movement or the narrative. I identify four critical moments during the movement's response to decline: they initially deny decline; after admitting decline, they debate tactics, followed by debating identities; and finally they demand decline as the only solution for the movement's problem. The movement moves through a process of increasing exclusion, working to resolve internal contradictions defined by the original narrative and identity.

Citation

Owens, L. (2008), "What we talk about when we talk about decline: Competing narratives in the Amsterdam squatters’ movement", Coy, P.G. (Ed.) Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 239-271. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-786X(08)28008-0

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited