Alternative Futures with Laura Stegemann, Grace Brown & Emilia Arpini

Colluseum steps leading down

Reimagining: Municipalism

Friday 29 October 3.30pm-5.00pm
Online event

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As part of our Alternative Futures seminar series, we are delighted to host this online seminar with speakers Laura Stegemann, Grace Brown and Emilia Arpini. 

A ‘new municipalist’ movement has been emerging across different towns, cities, and communities worldwide, aiming at contesting the effects of neoliberalisation. Through local activism and citizens’ initiatives, these movements promote local commoning practices, economic democracy, and democratic ownership of the commons, seeking to transform state institutions and foster alternative modes of local governance. Simultaneously, remunicipalisation has been on the rise. This is a process where local authorities and communities bring formerly privatised assets and services back into public ownership, with more than 1,500 cases since 2000.

Building on the argument that the form and function of new municipalism is locally situated, this seminar will dive into three different cases of re/municipalisation. Drawing on qualitative interviews, local press reports, websites, official documents, social media posts and radio interviews, we will explain how social movements, civil society and state actors have pushed and implemented re/municipalisation.

Due to the the Covid-19 pandemic and a looming climate catastrophe, the causes of these movements are more pressing than before. Universal access to services such as energy, water, health care and food is of increasing socioeconomic, environmental and political importance.

We will suggest that new municipalism is particularly evident in Rosario, where new municipalist movements are protagonists in the transformation of local state structures. In New York, the Public Power coalition deploys a strategic municipalism to push the remunicipalisation of energy generation and distribution. Together with the participants, we want to discuss the importance of understanding municipalism as a varied global counter movement to neoliberalisation, whose form, potential and effects differ across institutional and geographical settings.


First published: 11 October 2021