The first article I chose to analyze was “Young people’s voiceless politics in the struggle over urban space,” by Pauliina and Jouni. The article begins by explaining that the city of Oulu gated and partially closed one of its downtown parks in order to debar young people from using the park for gatherings and other social events. This caused a vast amount of publicity about the issue, even reaching the national level, however, the youth directly involved with the situation remained quiet. Voiceless. Instead of being active agents in this political debate, they served as passive objects of policing. The authors later claimed the youth’s participation as ‘political-nonparticipation’ and claimed that their ‘voiceless politics’ was often disregarded by policy makers or administrative actors. The authors continue to explain that the youth claimed the park by persistently using the park how they wanted, regardless of any particular punishments they would receive and any physical changes that occurred. By remaining voiceless, there was a lack of understanding of the situation and it did not allow for external support. The youth used an approach that expressed purposive action instead of intentional action. These actions helped the youth express what kind of public space the wanted and what aspects of the park were most important to them. In this case, it made the adults/residents aware of the politics the youth were practicing, or also aware of the ones they weren’t. In conclusion, voicelessness can be a form of participation in political struggles and it needs to be taken into account in policymaking and administrative practice, as we have seen by this case study.
The second article is titled, “The ‘Occupy’ Movement: Emerging Protest Forms and Contested Urban Spaces,” by Judy Lubin. This case study on the Occupy movement represents how the nature of social movements are evolving. The protest helped redirect the nation’s attention to identify that global corporations were the source of the economic crisis. The movement incorporated the use of social-media along with encampments in public places. In the wake of the economic crisis, students, along with the working and middle class suffered financially and millions of Americans lost their jobs and homes. At the same time, corporations were receiving record profits, which angered and upset these vulnerable populations and resulted in a global protest.
In the article, Lubin states that urban spaces are necessary components of the Occupy protest. As we talked about in class, cities are the centers for administrative and economical purpose and they served as the strategic points in this protest because the world’s wealth is concentrated in these major cities. This movement helped represent how public spaces are used to further participatory democracy and how it will serve as a model for future urban protests.