Crisis-Scapes: Athens and beyond

For the purpose of the conference that took place in Athens May 9th and 10th, 2014 we had asked our guests to develop some thoughts based on an idea or a question that we posed them. In collecting their answers, we aimed to create a framework for the preparation of the conference itself, and to help outline those aspects of urban everydayness that we consider to be the most important for us to understand the questions posed by the city itself, at this moment of crisis.The contributions were published here on this site, as well as gathered in the conference publication which was distributed at the conference.

Revolt and Crisis in Greece

How does a revolt come about and what does it leave behind? What impact does it have on those who participate in it and those who simply watch it? Is the Greek revolt of December 2008 confined to the shores of the Mediterranean, or are there lessons we can bring to bear on social action around the globe? Revolt and Crisis in Greece: Between a Present Yet to Pass and a Future Still to Come is a collective attempt to grapple with these questions.

Patterns of contentious politics concentration as a ‘spatial contract’; a spatio-temporal study of urban riots and violent protest in the neighbourhood of Exarcheia, Athens, Greece (1974-2011)

Thesis Title

Patterns of contentious politics concentration as a ‘spatial contract’; a spatio-temporal study of urban riots and violent protest in the neighbourhood of Exarcheia, Athens, Greece (1974-2011)


Department of Geography, London School of Economics, December 2012. Successfully defended viva, March 2013.


Tom Slater, Lila Leontidou


Existing studies of urban riots, violent protest and other instances of contentious politics in urban settings have largely tended to be either event- or time-specific in their scope. The present thesis offers a spatial reading of such politics of contention in the city of Athens,Greece. Tracing the pattern of the occurrence of these instances through time, the research scope of the thesis spans across Greece’s post-dictatorial era (i.e. post-1974, the Greek Metapolitefsi), concluding shortly after the first loan agreement between the country’s national government and the so-called ‘troika’ of lenders (IMF/ECB/EU). The thesis includes a critical overview of literature on riots in a historical and geographical context; questions on methodology and ethics in researching urban riots; a discourse analysis of violence concentration in Exarcheia; ethnographic accounts on everyday life in the neighbourhood and a ‘rhythmanalysis’ of the Exarcheia contention concentration during the period of research.Seeking to explain this concentration the thesis introduces the notion of the ‘spatial contract’:rather than signalling a type of discord, the concentration of mass violence in Exarcheia through time is hereby conceived as the spatial articulation of a certain form of consensus between Greek authorities and their subjects. In this way, the thesis places the concentration of urban violence in Exarcheia solidly within the social and political context of the country’s post-dictatorial era.The thesis suggests that it would be beneficial for future human geographical research to trace such concentration patterns of urban riots. By exercising a cross-scale reading, it would then possible to place these and other forms of contentious politics within a social equilibrium that is far more complex and often much more consensual than it might appear to be.

New Borders

Amsterdam lecture

With many thanks to the wonderful Sylvia Aru for the invite and to Darshan Vigneswaran and Polly Pallister-Wilkins for convening. Lecture today with Evie Papada!

This lecture is co-organised by the ACES – FMG Migration Network and the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES)

To many, a border is a geographical fact. But what happens when a border is subject to an emergency? Today, as millions are forced to migrate due to war, famine and political unrest, it is important to analyse how states use new bordering techniques to control populations.

The lecture New Borders is based on the homonymous book edited by Pluto Press in 2019 and is held by two of the four authors: Antonis Vradis and Evie Papada. Their research focuses on the Greek island of Lesbos. Since 2015, the island has come under intense scrutiny as more than one million people have disembarked on its shores. During this time, the authors spent two years studying the changing meanings and functions of the EU’s border. They observed how the reception of the refugees slid into detention and refuge became duress. Examining how and why this happened, they tackle questions on European policy, the securitisation of national and EU borders and the real impacts this has had on everyday life, determining who ‘belongs’ where and when.