Mobilization and protest: the struggle to save Karura Forest in Nairobi, Kenya
Recent literature in geography and related sciences has sought to demonstrate the role of different forms of spatialities such as space, place, scale and mobility in structuring social movement formations. In so doing, the literature has gone beyond the conventional structural explanations of the development of collective organized resistance. Within this line of scholarship, some have called for the need to go beyond focusing on single positions of spatiality in isolation from others and to address how multiple spatialities, combined, influence the development and practices of social movements. A fuller understanding of how multiple spatialities impact movements must also include consideration of empirical cases beyond the current focus on North American, European and Latin American contexts. This paper, therefore, investigates the development of a loosely organized resistance movement in Kenya and its efforts in the late 1990s to protest against government-sanctioned plans to privatize Karura Forest, a public forest reserve located in the City of Nairobi. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Nairobi between 2005 and 2006, my findings suggest that a combination of spatialities influenced how the movement organized and mobilized the public to participate in the protests.