This panel will discuss the condition of liminality related to housing precarity by questioning its conventional definition as a temporary in-betweenness, together with how it can become an example of social depotentiation or transform itself into collective political stances.
Conventionally, anthropological understandings of ‘liminality’ define it as a condition of temporary in-betweenness, in which a transition to a differential state is assumed. In other disciplines – such as urban studies – the same notion is related for the most to describe so-called ‘marginal’ contexts. In this panel, we are interested in exploring differential and more nuanced ways of understanding ‘liminality’ beyond current readings. We are doing so, inspired by research that has looked at conditions of housing precarity in a processual and situated way (Baxter and Brickell 2014; Vasudevan 2015), where the ‘liminal’ and the ‘marginal’ cannot be simply defined by ‘transitionary processes’ and/or social exclusion (Thomassen 2014; Cacciotti 2020). With this we mean to explore those situations in which experiences of ‘housing precarity’ show that the ‘liminal’ is both a space of potential annihilation and dispossession, as well as a space that can be inhabited against prevailing forces (Lancione 2020; Simone 2016).
We are interested in contributions that situated experiences of precarious housing and their politics of liminality at the intersection of everyday experiences and longitudinal and structural processes of economic, cultural, societal and racial dispossession.
Through conceptual and empirical work (involving, for example, squats and other informal occupations, evictions, homeless centers, reception centers), this panel will shed light on how a localized liminal and precarious housing condition can become an example of social and economic depotentiation or transform itself into collective political stances.