Between relationality and territoriality: Investigating the geographies of justice movements in The Netherlands and the United States

Justin Beaumont*, Walter Nicholls

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper examines the geographies of justice movements in Rotterdam in The Netherlands and Los Angeles in the United States. In their wider national and international frameworks movements in both countries continue to contest unjust forms of urbanization characterized by neoliberal initiatives that undermine the socioeconomic status of low-income residents. These movements are constituted by relations that stretch across several geographical levels. There remain, however, significant differences in their spatial organizational form: Rotterdam is characterized by loose networks of local associations which relate to constellations of nationally based Christian churches, unions, and humanist organizations, whereas networks between associations, unions, and university activists in Los Angeles have undergone institutionalization at the urban level. We show that movement territorialization is particularly evident at the urban level in Los Angeles while embedded at the national level in the shadow of state -corporatist institutional legacies and power relations in Rotterdam. By drawing upon important insights from several economic geographers, we develop a conceptual framework for explaining the spatialities of contention and contribute to contemporary controversies over relationality, territoriality, and political action at a variety of scales. A normative implication of the paper concerns the learning capacities of contesting actors to forge alliances and achieve their ambitions within path-dependent institutional frameworks.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2554-2574
    Number of pages21
    JournalEnvironment and Planning A
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov-2007



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