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New Municipalism and the State: Remunicipalising Energy in Barcelona, from Prosaics to Process

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalAntipode: a radical journal of geography
Published19 Oct 2020

King's Authors


Bertie Russell’s 2019 Antipode paper documents the emergence of a “new municipalist” movement, which approaches the city as a strategic entry point for a radically democratic politics. Given this movement’s aspirations towards the transformation of the municipal state, how might state theory inform research and practice on new municipalism going forward? This is the question with which Russell concludes his paper and the question taken up here. The paper focuses on municipalist initiative Barcelona En Comú’s endeavours towards the remunicipalisation of energy, and the ways in which the radical vision underpinning this has been frustrated. Putting these experiences into conversation with the theoretical work of Gill Hart, I develop an “open dialectical” account of the state, which understands the processes that constitute the state as articulated through the contingent mediations of “prosaic” practices. This state theory, I argue, sheds new light on the possibilities and frustrations facing new municipalist movements.

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