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Dr Oscar Berglund

Dr Oscar Berglund

Dr Oscar Berglund
BA, MSc, MSc, PhD

Senior Teaching Associate in Public Policy

Area of research

Contesting Austerity through Civil Disobedience: The PAH and the Spanish Housing Crisis

Office Room G2, 10 Woodland Road
Social Science Complex,
8 Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TZ
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Summary

International Political Economy, Austerity, Contestation, Neoliberalisation, Social Movements

My research interests are located within the field of International Political Economy and particularly Critical Political Economy. It looks at political contestation of the processes of neoliberalisation and austerity, including both non-violent contestation by social movements and parliamentary forms of contestation. My research draws on a historical materialist theoretical framework with a focus on political agency and contestation. 

My ESRC-funded PhD thesis, Contesting Austerity through Civil Disobedience: The PAH and the Spanish Housing Crisis, analysed the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH, Platform for the Mortgage-Affected) and examined what it means to contest austerity and how the PAH does this. The PAH is an anti-eviction housing movement and its growth is innately linked to the depth and nature of the Spanish housing crisis where half a million households have been evicted since 2008. The movement employs a wide range of forms of protest and political contestation against both capital and state actors in its campaigns for the right to housing. Drawing upon a historical materialist conceptual framework, the thesis uses a combination of observations, semi-structured interviews and analysis of PAH-produced documents and secondary sources to explore the PAH’s contestation of austerity at different levels. Ultimately the thesis makes the case that to contest austerity requires a contetstation of finance capital as the winners of austerity reforms. The PAH is an actor that contests austerity, and whose prospects of realising its demands are tied up with the broader Spanish and Catalonian political landscape. The thesis argues that the PAH’s successes are in large part due to the way in which it has developed a model of politicisation which works to attract people affected by the housing crisis to become political activists; and the way in which a discourse of civil disobedience allows the PAH to use innovative and illegal forms of protest as part of a political campaign enjoying high levels of legitimacy.

Biography

My research interests are located within the field of International Political Economy and particularly Critical Political Economy. It looks at political contestation of the processes of neoliberalisation and austerity, including both non-violent contestation by social movements and parliamentary forms of contestation. My research draws on a historical materialist theoretical framework with a focus on political agency and contestation. 

My PhD thesis analyses the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH, Platform for the Mortgage-Affected) and examines how it contests austerity. The PAH is an anti-eviction housing movement and its growth is innately linked to the depth and nature of the Spanish housing crisis where half a million households have been evicted since 2008. The movement employs a wide range of forms of protest and political contestation against both capital and state actors in its campaigns for the right to housing. Drawing upon a historical materialist conceptual framework, the thesis uses a combination of observations, semi-structured interviews and analysis of PAH-produced documents and secondary sources to explore the PAH’s contestation of austerity at different levels. Ultimately the thesis makes the case that the PAH is an actor that contests austerity, and whose prospects of realising its demands are tied up with the broader Spanish and Catalonian political landscape. The thesis argues that the PAH’s successes are in large part due to the way in which it has developed a model of politicisation which works to attract people affected by the housing crisis to become political activists; and the way in which a discourse of civil disobedience allows the PAH to use innovative and illegal forms of protest as part of a political campaign enjoying high levels of legitimacy.

I am an ESRC funded PhD candidate on a 1+3 scholarship.

My degrees are as follows:

MSc in Social Sciences Research Methods, University of Bristol, 2013.

MSc in International Security, University of Bristol, 2010.

BA in International Relations, University of the West of England, 2009

Teaching

International Political Economy

Theories of International Relations

 

Keywords

  • International Political Economy
  • Austerity
  • Contestation
  • Neoliberalisation
  • Social Movements

Expertise

Anti-austerity politics in Spain and Europe, including both social movements and political parties. Austerity as a concept and process. Housing and housing activism. Global financial crisis. Economic crisis in Spain. Catalonian and Spanish politics. My PhD was about the Plataform for the Mortgage-Affected (PAH, Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca), an anti-eviction housing movement founded by the current Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.

  • Anti-austerity
  • Austerity
  • social movements
  • housing
  • Catalonia
  • Spain
  • Civil Disobedience
  • Links

    Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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