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From “dissuasive city” to “solidary city”

Lucie Bony et Marie Chabrol et Sylvie Letniowska-Swiat

This journal issue of Espace, Populations et Sociétés will be devoted to relationships with otherness in the city. Figures of otherness are relative and refer to any individual or social group considered as “other” because of its origin, mobility, culture, social status, religion, etc. [Gotman, 2004]. However some “figures” typically embody this otherness: migrants, homeless people, prostitutes, youth groups.

In a context of increasing inequalities, especially linked to the neoliberalisation of social relations and the precarisation of employment, many studies find that the city is closing [Capron, 2006] and is fragmenting spatially as well as politically, economically and socially [Bénit, et al., 2007]. Researchers observe dynamics of “marginalization”, “exclusion”, or even “expulsion” or “eviction” [Estebanez, Raad, 2016]. Whether it is called “revanchist” [Smith, 1996] or “dissuasive” [Terrolle, 2004], the city finally tends to reject the poorest.

From another perspective, urban research also reveals the forms of regulation of these inequalities and shows that the city can be “solidary” [Gloor et al., 2014, Rousseau et al., 2014], “welcoming” [Hanappe, 2018]. The city thus retains a function of hospitality for the most precarious and a function of reducing inequalities.

Between the “revanchist” and the “welcoming” city, there is a whole range of intermediate situations. They can be grasped through a multitude of actors and through the way a place is made, left - sometimes in a constrained way - or refused, but also seized and defended by the most precarious inhabitants.

These tensions in the city between reception and rejection, hospitality and inhospitality or integration and exclusion are not recent [Gotman, 2003, Boudou, 2017]. However, these issues have recently seen renewed interest due to the “migration crisis”, which is rather a “crisis of hospitality” [Akoka et al., 2017] in European states [Bontemps et al., 2018].

This journal issue of Espace, Populations, Sociétés call for articles that study the tensions and articulations between these urban dynamics. If a first form of articulation considers practices of solidarity as modalities of resistance to the closure of the city, others exist and deserve to be studied. For example, solidarity practices can have ambivalent effects: they can produce unintended collateral damage and cause exclusion: some social action devices that target a particular audience (women, youth, etc.) tend to sideline the rest of the population. Moreover, social matters can generate a security treatment that results in some drifts of social action devices. The border between social assistance and police “cleansing” is, for example, narrow: “under the pretext of an ethically unassailable solicitude towards this population [homeless], the Samusocial works towards a discreet public cleanliness: clean the city of all people without home or place that our society products. [...] Under the pretense of mutual aid and assistance, it also plays a role of control and supervision of an urban population deemed “dangerous”” [Terrolle, 2004]. The link between welcome and reject can also result from the contradictions of the tasks given to the actors in charge of social action: a good example is the transport space management whose officers are in charge of both “helping” homeless while “asking them out” [Soutrenon, 2001].

The first challenge of this journal issue of Espace, Populations et Sociétés is to develop and promote works that articulate the analysis of the processes of integration and exclusion in the city. The second challenge also is to compare research addressing these issues in various thematic fields. Indeed, this issue raises issues in the research fields not only on migration or poverty, but also on mobility, housing, public space, social movements etc.

Several entries can be considered:

1. Entry through public policies

A first perspective is the public policies of hospitality and hostility: these are usually decided at the national level, but they also can be enacted by infra and supra-state institutions and organizations.

In particular, neo-municipalist tendencies claiming greater autonomy of the local could be an object of study. “Rebel cities” [Harvey, 2015] or “sanctuary cities” [Paquet 2017] are for instance good examples of the importance of the local scale in welcome policies: rebel cities claim to be socially more just and ecologically more rational, whereas sanctuary cities “refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in the implementation of national immigration policies and ensure access to municipal services regardless of the administrative status of individuals” [Paquet, 2017]. Conversely, municipal anti-begging decrees testify to local exclusion policies.

The purpose of the contributions may be to question the singularity of the local situations of reception or rejection of the other, in connection with the historical, geographical and political contexts of the territories in which they are inscribed.

2. Entry by the actors

It is also important to consider the actors on the ground who actually implement these policies. They are increasingly diverse: public officials, associations, private groups, collective inhabitants, etc. This raises questions about the articulation and contradictions of their actions.

Practices and discourses also can be analyzed. How do they contribute to the construction of part of the population as vulnerable and / or criminal? This cognitive operation of identifying “others” can also be understood as a means of redefining or repositioning the “We” [Hassoun, 2009].

Secondly, it is important to consider the experiences of those who live these welcome or exclusion policies by looking at their practices, paths, their way of life? What are the places they frequent (resource sites)? What are those they avoid? How does the configuration of their living space reveal their place in the city?

3. Entry by the places of welcome and the places of rejection

Finally, it may be interesting to apprehend the hospitable or hostile places that make up the urban space. These places can be qualified by their layout, their mode of regulation and by the interactions between the people who frequent them.

The ambivalence of the welcome centers can be analyzed. The emergency housing is an example: their access is not systematically unconditional [Soulié, 1997]; they also are places of symbolic violence [Bruneteaux, 2006].

On the other hand, it is interesting to understand how hospitality is expressed in non-hospital places such as prisons, detention centers, police stations, etc.

The understanding of the hospitality or hostility of the city can finally be studied by its general layout and the organization of public places [Froment-Meurice, 2016].

The articles can concern both developed and southern countries.


• Deadline proposal submission (title and abstract of approximately 350 words) : end of March 2020. Abstracts will be sent to the 3 editors (contacts below)

• Committee review selection april 2020

• Deadline for paper submission : September 30th 2020


Lucie Bony –,

Marie Chabrol –,

Sylvie Letniowska-Swiat –


Akoka Karen, Carlier Marine, de Coussemaker Solange, 2017, « "Ce n’est pas une crise des migrants mais une crise des politiques d’hospitalité" », Revue Projet, Vol. 5, n° 360, p. 77-83.

Bontemps Véronique, Makaremi Chowra, Mazo Sarah (dir.), 2018, Entre accueil et rejet : ce que les villes font aux migrants, Lyon, Le Passager clandestin, 159 p.

Bénit Claire, Didier Sophie, Dorier-Apprill Elisabeth, Gervais-Lambony Philippe, 2007, « Fragmentations » in Dorier-Apprill Elisabeth, Gervais-Lambony Philippe (dir.), Vies citadines, Paris, Belin, pp. 15-38.

Boudou Benjamin, 2017, Politique de l’hospitalité, Paris, CNRS Editions, 248 p.

Bruneteaux Patrick, 2006, « L’hébergement d’urgence à Paris ou l’accueil en souffrance », Sociétés contemporaines, Vol. 3, no 63, pp. 105-125.

Capron Guénola (dir.), 2006, Quand la ville se ferme. Quartiers résidentiels sécurisés, Paris, Bréal, 288 p.

Estebanez Jean, Raad Lina, 2016, « Les indésirables », Géographie et cultures, n° 98, pp. 5-22.

Froment-Meurice Muriel, 2016, Produire et réguler les espaces publics contemporains : les politiques de gestion de l’indésirabilité à Paris, Thèse de doctorat en géographie, Université Paris Est, 388 p.

Gloor Marie, Lauzeral Margot, Leveugle Jean (dir.), 2014, Ville solidaire. Etat de la littérature, Paris, Rapport du PUCA, 134 p.

Gotman Anne, 2003, « Barrières urbaines, politiques publiques et usages de l’hospitalité », Les Annales de la recherche urbaine, n°94, pp. 6-15.

Gotman Anne (dir.), 2004, Villes et hospitalité. Les municipalités et leurs « étrangers », Paris, Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 494 p.

Hanappe Cyrille (dir.), 2018, La ville accueillante. Accueillir à Grande-Synthe. Question théoriques et pratiques sur les exilés, l’architecture et la ville, Paris, Editions du PUCA, collection Recherche n°236, 528 p.

Harvey David, 2015, Villes rebelles. Du droit à la ville à la révolution urbaine, Buchet-Chastel.

Hassoun Jean-Pierre, 2009, « Altérités urbaines », Genèses, vol. 3, n° 76, pp. 2-7

Paquet Mireille, 2017, « Aux États-Unis, des villes sanctuaires », Plein droit, n°115, pp. 11-14.

Rousseau Max, Beal Vincent, Faburel Guillaume (dir.), 2014, Pratiques et politiques de la ville solidaire, Paris, Rapport du PUCA, 288 p.

Smith Neil, 1996, The new urban frontier. Gentrification and the revanchist city, London, Routledge, 288 p.

Soulié Charles, 1997, « Le classement des sans-abri », Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, Vol. 118, pp. 69-80.

Soutrenon Emmanuel, 2001, « Faites qu’ils (s’en) sortent… À propos du traitement réservé aux sans-abri dans le métro parisien », Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, n° 136-137, p. 38-48.

Terrolle Daniel, 2004, « La ville dissuasive : l'envers de la solidarité avec les SDF », Espaces et Sociétés, n°116-117, pp. 143-157.

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