Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference

Travlou, P. (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Paper Title: "Urban Commoning, Solidarity Networks and Refugees in Athens: The Making of a Common Space for/with/by Nomad Citizens." This paper focuses on “urban commoning” in Athens: the social process of the coming together of strangers/outsiders (i.e. refugees/migrants) and locals to collectively manage the resources needed to sustain common spaces of solidarity in the city (Stavrides 2015). It explores how collaboration between locals and “newcomers” can co-create shared (common) spaces to strengthen the social fabric and counteract against neoliberal austerity measures. Together with local activists, refugees/migrants co-create “urban commons” - resources that are collectively owned and equally managed by their members – to re-appropriate the political sphere of the polis (i.e. the city) and suggest alternatives to ‘crisis’. Moving away from the representation of the migrant/refugee as Giorgio Agamben’s (1998) ‘Homo Sacer’ - a living being with fewer rights than the citizens of nation-states – it theorises on the active engagement of refugees as agents for change in the host-society. Following Rosi Braidotti’s (2011) ‘nomadic subjectivity’, the refugee/migrant is approached as the newcomer/stranger who occupies space in a non-sedentary manner challenging bounded territory of nation-states. The novel concept of “nomad citizenship” is a central theoretical concern of the paper. Taking as a promising example of refugees/migrants-residents’ collaborative initiative, a collective African kitchen, the paper demonstrates how the search of refugees’ inclusion can be turned into a model of collaboration and sharing, and therefore, in the exploration of alternative ways of living and working together. The principles of the collective kitchen focus on solidarity economy models, heterarchical power structures, horizontal decision-making, collective self-management, but also sharing, exchanging and peer learning practices.
Period30 Aug 20162 Sep 2016
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United Kingdom


  • cultural geography
  • refugee crisis
  • borders
  • solidarity
  • commoning
  • economies of c are
  • food culture
  • Athens
  • ethnography
  • collaboration