Assembling Neighbours. The City as Archive, Hardware, Method


Work data:

Type of work: Working Paper


Anthropology | Participation | Politics and Political Science




The article reports on the rise of the ‘popular assemblies’ movement that swept the streets and plazas of Madrid in the wake of the May 15 2011 occupation of Puerta del Sol. Assemblies have since taken installation in public spaces as infrastructural and methodological projects. Their wireframing into the public landscape has demanded of participants an inventive deployment of archival and hardware tactics, as well as a method for urban hospitality. The fuzz and mess of the assembly – the difficulties that participants have at putting together, let alone understanding the very object of the assembly as an urban form – offers some valuable insights into present-day discussions on the city as an object of political claims and rights. Moreover, the practice of assembling neighbours – of convoking a neighbourhood’s assembly, and of bringing and holding a disparity of relations together in the political and social figure of the ‘neighbour’ – addresses wider issues about the possible forms of an urban commons in the neoliberal metropolis. In this light, we develop an argument that sees in the assemblies an emerging political form of neo-municipalism. The political purchase of this assemblage / assembly is its status as urban open hardware. An object invested in the fuzziness of the urban condition.