ABSTRACT

This chapter argues that both supportive and reactive discursive practices that preceded and followed criminalisation produced a specific regime of truth about squatting that channelled the debate in specific directions and confined the possibility for resistant voices to emerge. It also focuses on the framework of moral panic, supported by Critical Discourse Analysis. Moral panics involve a discourse aimed at raising fear and outrage: not only by appealing to a threat to 'normal' values coming from an alleged outside, but also by means of 'denigration of the transgressive other'. Some discourses turned around the 'right to the city' and analysed processes of urban dispossession through corporate projects, housing policies, speculation and so-called 'urban revitalization' plans. Just as in England and Wales, the moralising technique consists in stigmatizing squatters as 'the monstrous other', and in turning political activists into threats to democracy.