Autonomy and the Spaciousness of the Social in Denmark

The Conflict Between Ungdomshuset and Faderhuset

in Social Analysis

This article is concerned with the idea of societal 'spaciousness' and its relationship to individual and collective autonomy. These issues are analyzed in the context of the eviction of a self-managed social center of left-radical activists in Copenhagen and the protests and public debate that followed. The authors find that societal spaciousness in Denmark is metaphorically associated with a house or a limited physical space. People should limit themselves in public space, as in a house, to 'make room' for all. Because youngsters are not conceived of as fully fledged political subjects who are able to conduct themselves appropriately in public space, they become a group of special concern. The authors argue that space should be conceived as a dimension of social relations, and that sociality relies on a temporal assemblage of people, things, and imaginaries with space.