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Mobilizations around urban conflicts have a long history, but the social sciences began identifying urban social movements only in the 1960s. The term urban social movement was first introduced by Manuel Castells and French researchers to challenge a view then prevalent in urban sociology that social problems were primarily a matter of social integration. In contrast to this sociological view, and inspired by widespread struggles over housing policies, urban renewal, and squatting, these researchers developed a concept of urban conflicts as structured by struggles over (political) power. They saw urban movements as articulating the structural contradictions of late-capitalist societies and as capable of bringing about, together with labor unions and political parties, fundamental change in politics and society. This definition spread across Western metropoles, Latin ...

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