Fearless politics. Municipalist movements and the difficulty of the plains (Study Project)
We are facing a socio-ecological crisis that affects basic structures of modern societies. Issues of social justice and effective climate change mitigation arise that make it necessary to fundamentally question the prevailing growth-oriented development model. At the same time, many (not only) European societies are increasingly experiencing a crisis of democracy. In their criticism of pluralistic democratic institutions, right-wing authoritarian movements and parties tie in with these crisis phenomena and at the same time exacerbate them. On the other side of the conflict spectrum, social movement actors link the demand for (climate, social) justice with the demand for the expansion and intensification of democracy. In this context, municipalist movements stand out because they pursue both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary strategies to orient urban infrastructures and institutions towards a common good approach. With the electoral successes of Barcelona en Comú (2015), Zagreb je NAS! (2021) and other municipalist movement parties around the world, new understandings of politics have entered local politics and urban planning. Thus, municipalist movement parties who are in government strengthen grassroot democratic elements and strive for "obedient governance" to create a new relationship between local governments, administrative agents, social movements, and citizens. Municipalist movements thus hold the promise of opening up the political scope for political visions, while at the same time testing very concrete transformative urban policy and planning tools. In the Study Project we will examine the successes, difficulties and surprises of the first two years of a municipalist local government in Zagreb. The students will learn how to design, plan, and implement a research project. They will develop research questions, which they work on in groups. During our field trip to Zagreb, the students will apply various methods of data collection. Afterwards, we will practice different interpretation methods and analyze the collected material. The results will be communicated by means of a presentation and a report.