Appropriating symbolic space: The Camp for Climate Action occupation of the Royal Bank of Scotland corporate campus

Ron Kerr, Sarah Robinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter draws on and extends Bourdieusian approaches to space and place to theorise how ‘symbolic provocations’ organised by protest movements are used to occupy physical space and contest its symbolic dimensions. The study’s empirical focus is a specific socio-historical case, the occupation in August 2010 of the grounds of the Royal Bank of Scotland corporate campus HQ near Edinburgh by supporters of the Camp for Climate Action (CFCA), and the organisation by the CFCA of a series of ‘symbolic provocations’, aimed at disrupting the everyday work of the bank, damaging its symbolic capital, gaining media publicity for the cause, and building and strengthening international networks of activists by involving Canadian First Nations’ representatives protesting against the exploitation of oil tar sands on their ancestral lands. We argue that this historical conjuncture, which brings into relation two contrasting forms of organisation with different historical trajectories, both contesting the right to occupy one piece of land, constitutes a struggle over the appropriation of physical space and over the meaning of that space: that is, over its social and symbolic dimensions. It also serves as a moment of intersection between two very different transnational fields in opposition: the well-established banking and financial field and the more emergent field of climate action.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPierre Bourdieu in studies of organizations and management
Subtitle of host publicationSocietal change and transforming fields
EditorsSarah Robinson, Jette Ernst, Kristian Larsen, Ole Jacob Thomassen
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781003022510
ISBN (Print)9780367893354, 9781032107509
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society


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