Working Group 6 : Territorial and social dynamics

Coordination : Lydia COUDROY DE LILLE (Lyon 2), Olivier GIVRE (Lyon 2)

List of members

Working-group 6 examines the mutual relationships between territorial and social dynamics, considering that territories are constructions which various stakeholders, who can be established, organized or not, imagine and set up in the political, economic, technical, social, and cultural sense of the term. The aim is to analyse interactions between the territory and political and social practices, under permanent negotiation; this implies an equal attention to institutional spaces, to concrete experiences, to models and to practices. Thus, the territory is never considered as a given, but as engaged in logics of process: the “setting up” of territory is inherently interlinked with the “setting up” of society.
These theoretical considerations are developed under four research topics:

  1. The Europeanisation of territories. The European Union is considered in this topic as political body and a matrix which informs, transforms, and produces territories in its institutional perimeter and on its bordering areas. In this unique geographical experience, a broad policy of social and spatial integration has been conducted. But the European Union (EU) has been confronted with a series of major challenges; some of these issues question not only Europe’s identity, but also the European project itself, both from within and without. It is highly relevant to develop a clear understanding of the spatial impact of the political and economic crisis on the future of Europe.
  2. The “making” of the city. We define the “making” of the city as material processes, political, economic, and societal practices interlinked with territorialisation processes engaging multiple stakeholders, be they private or public. The aim is to examine both institutional and top-down, incremental, and bottom-up dynamics in the field of urban projects of metropolitan scale, housing developments or of migration to cities; we do not oppose those two types of processes, but we examine how they work together. In-between and ordinary spaces, projects of social integration of social margins, are selected topics of this working group. Classical themes of research such as “the right to the city”, the social mix in the city vs segregation are also re-examined.
  3. Powers, territories, mobilities. In a globalized world, which questions classical models of political organization, it is of great importance to understand how powers are rebuilding themselves following different processes (fragmentation, pluralisation, redistribution, protest movements). Territories, from the local to the global scale, are thus permanently negotiated and performed in social and political practices, instead of being stable and homogeneous entities. The research developed here pays a special attention to mobility, movements (migrations, networks, diaspora, connections…) in a multiscalar and transnational approach, in various areas and cultures (Europe, Africa, America, etc.). Several issues are discussed and analysed: norms and values in health, environment, cultural policies, borders, sovereignty, control, migrations, intimate experiences of globalization, etc.
  4. Heritagization. The aim of this research topic is to analyze how heritagization processes deal with spaces which are considered as obsolete or threatened when the social gaze on them is changing, when they are shifted from the margins to the symbolic centre of the territory. Heritage is often mobilised to produce place making, social links, and to add political legitimacy to its advocates. Heritagization and territorialization are today strongly interlinked in our societies, they question the production and circulation of norms and values. Heritagization policies are undertaken by stakeholders in a position of power, but in a context of decentralization, such policies are also a lever of dissent and of democratic experimentation.