Title: Practising Urban Commons Between Autonomy and Togetherness: Revisiting the Precariat Movement in Tokyo and Seoul From a Comparative View
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Didi (Kyoung-ae) Han, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
The so-called precariat movement came into bloom in the early 2000s in Japan and the early 2010s in Korea. While studies have focused on their anarchistic qualities, egalitarian manner of organisation, and cultural inspirations, there is a lacuna when the precariat movements are examined comparatively. This paper maps the contentious terrain of the precariat movements in Tokyo and Seoul based on 17 months of ethnographic fieldwork and extensive archival research, analysing how the precariat movement in Tokyo and Seoul have built different forms of urban commons with different traits, reflecting the historical legacies of urban movements in both Seoul and Tokyo. The study shows how the precariat in Tokyo and Seoul have developed different strategies toward autonomy and togetherness, respectively, to counter the neoliberal ideology of self-reliance. Consequently, they have imagined and practised urban commons differently according to distinct contexts. In Tokyo, the precariat movement has tried to produce an autonomous space to live outside of the system. On the other hand, the precariat in Seoul, who had to deal with a harsher socio-economic situation, put great efforts into creating material bases for collectivity by devising different ways of accounting and financing in relation to land and housing. Nevertheless, urban commons in Tokyo and Seoul resonate with each other as the precariat in Tokyo and Seoul are not only against capital and state but also beyond a closed community.
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