Call for papers: Special issue on global corporate landlords and tenant struggles

Lorenzo Vidal, Javier Gil & Miguel A. Martínez

Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University

We are proposing a special issue to give voice to tenant struggles in the face of a global housing crisis embodied by the figure of the global corporate landlord. The objective is to shed light on the conflicts occurring on the newest urban frontiers of finance and to analyse the strategies and tactics (or lack thereof) deployed by residents, tenant organisations and/or governments at different scales.

Whereas there is a bourgeoning literature on the emergence of global corporate landlords in the run up to and fall-out from the 2008 global financial crisis and their aggressive property management strategies (e.g. Beswick et al., 2016; Christophers, 2021; Gil García & Martínez López, 2021; Rolnik, 2019; Vives Miro, 2018; Wijburg et al., 2018), there has been less scholarship focused on the resistances and responses to these developments. An exciting literature from the latter perspective is emerging, yet has mostly taken the form of dispersed case studies (e.g. Card, 2022; Martínez & Gil, 2022; Richter & Humphry, 2021; Wilde, 2019). Our contribution will be to group different paradigmatic cases together under a coherent structure so as to provide a comparative outlook and a comprehensive overview of the topic.

Mobilisations, campaigns and public policy innovations pursuing new rent controls and the municipalisation and socialisation of rental housing, as well as the proliferation of eviction blockades, rent strikes and collective bargaining processes, constitute instances of a new cycle of tenant contention demanding theorisation and empirical engagement. The uneven geographies of this cycle of contention and of collective tenant agency, as well as experiences of dispossession and defeat, also require close consideration and collective self-reflection. Brought under a political economy framing, the different articles will together sketch out an emerging urban agenda informed by the perspectives, practices and proposals of the growing numbers of renters that populate contemporary urban landscapes.

We aim to publish this special issue in Urban Studies. The editors have shown interest, yet we are pending confirmation once the final proposal and list of abstracts is submitted.

We accept abstracts (250 words) for papers of up to 8,500 words and for commentaries of around 3,500-5,000 words.

Please send your abstracts to: by the 13th of November 2022.

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