Line I - Cities, territories, citizenship

This line of research proposes an approach to space and communities that emphasises the link between urban areas and collective forms of organisation. The choice of the concept of city enables one to get a sense of spatial configuration in the plurality of its issues: through the fabric of the city and the real habitat that mould the architecture or design urban landscapes, but also in different ways of relating and belonging between inhabitants in the form of exchange of goods, services, knowledge or beliefs. The city may also be viewed as a homogeneous and harmonious socio-political space, invented in the utopian design, dreamed in the political and achieved in the organisation of the territory.

Cities and urban areas. From ancient cities to the cities of the Middle Ages1, it was also the power of the state and its agents that conferred the "right of citizenship" which was built, represented and questioned, either through the design and construction of the city, or the governance and social hierarchy of urban space. Given the thematic focus of the EHEHI, we will prioritise studies on the ancient and modern Mediterranean, in particular regarding transition periods such as the transition from Late Antiquity to the Islamic era in al- Andalus and the Maghreb, or projections of the city concept in the overseas territories in the modern and contemporary periods, and reconstruction phases and urban expansion on a global scale since the end of the Second World War.

Indeed, managing urban growth has become a major issue in the contemporary period, especially as regards the incorporation of massive migratory flows, issues surrounding the use of space, urban morphogenesis, socio-spatial segregation or the renewal of urban public action models. In this regard, Latin America has emerged as a new standard since the early 2000s in terms of innovation in the field of social planning, open to renew the analysis of interactions and limitations between spatial, social and political transformation.

Since the birth of the city, urban polarization goes hand-in-hand with control and exploitation of the surrounding territory. From a strategic point of view the city, which by definition is the centre of power (political, religious, administrative ...) for the purpose of reaching consensus and assuring the well-being of its inhabitants, also requires a territorial base for the influx of provisions, to exercise its influence and to provide protection. The multi-scale approach (from local to international) permits the analysis of different strategies, mostly empirical, implemented by cities themselves or political authorities to organise this plural urban world, define and manage its hierarchy and establish an interconnected network. 

Citizenship: places and connections based on community. By choosing the issue of citizenship, we have also decided to address urban spaces and territories in terms of their ability to generate a sense of belonging and community integration in political, social, legal, religious and cultural spheres. For a long time, from antiquity to the Old Regime, it was the concept of subject or alien and social forms such as community or orders, that allowed for a historical analysis of patterns of emergence and special schemes for defining a "we" (community) as well as exclusion schemes or, to use the term coined by the historian Simona Cerrutti, "conditions of uncertainty"2. As from what Pierre Rosenvallon called "the coronation of the citizen" of 1789, the political sovereignty of the individual citizen has characterised modern societies in very different ways and we can study the different mutations of this phenomenon particularly in Southern Europe and Spanish-speaking America. We will also pay particular attention to the different conflicts arising with regard to collective radicalisation processes with a view to defining this concept over the long term, articulating the political, social, cultural and religious dimensions in different cultural areas. At the heart of the issue of radicalism we find contemporary redefinitions of the different modes of social identification, the emergence of new regimes of political opposition and the response to or revindication of cultural or spiritual hegemony. Analysis of contemporary forms of radicalisation enables us to pose the question of collective belonging from the perspective of the dynamics of antagonism, particularly in the context of democracy.

The aim is also to use the tools offered by the social sciences to analyse the practices and expectations that citizens have of the urban environment in which they live and to gain a deeper understanding of the specifics of their lifestyle (consumption patterns; behaviour in labour contexts; health practices, mobility, entertainment; terms, degree and type of engagements ...) with a view to fitting their trajectory in the history of homus civitatis and predict what the city of tomorrow will be like.

Citizenship and contemporary post-democracies. In the contemporary context of crisis of democratic representation that Europe is undergoing, the issue of citizenship is currently a field of study and research in full intellectual effervescence questioning the modes of integration or the fracture between political democracy, social democracy and citizen participation. The term "post-democracy" has been in use since the mid-2000s in the field of political science to refer to the political crisis of liberal democracies accused of depriving citizens of their citizenship, i.e. their effective political sovereignty.3 From a contemporary philosophical viewpoint, this general citizenship crisis is the subject of new thinking on the refounding of the community of citizens. Catherine Colliot-Thélène has analysed the existence of a "democracy without demos", proposing a systematic reassessment of the normative ideal of modern democracy leading to a renewed focus on new contemporary citizen participation procedures.4 From a different perspective, Étienne Balibar has raised the question of the contemporary emergence of a "citizen-subject" system.5 And lastly, Sandra Laugier and Albert Ogien recently combined philosophical questioning and sociological analysis to take stock of political citizenship requirements through current forms of civil disobedience.6

All of these theoretical considerations directly coincide with extra-institutional mobilisation phenomena of democratic citizenship in Europe and with discourse on the need for the refounding of a "radical democracy", but they also echo the revival of populist political logic on a global scale and the major migrant crisis where Europe stands opposite the figure of the alien and non-citizen. These phenomena may be studied in all of their diversity and complexity across specific political, social and cultural contexts in southern European countries, with particular focus on Spain which, since 2011, has become a political and social laboratory of the collective desire of citizens to refound democracy inherited from the post-Franco transition and thereby give unprecedented importance to the revival of political expressions of "new citizenship" in search of "real democracy".

These analytical perspectives that intersect the physical space of the city with citizenship as the community matrix determining membership or exclusion, are intended to open up a field of research that will mobilise researchers from a wide range of different disciplines, especially archaeology, history, urban geography, urban planning, land use planning, art history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, literature, ecology, law and political science.

1 Patrick BOUCHERON, Denis MENJOT, La ville médiévale. Histoire de l’Europe urbaine, Paris, Seuil, 2011.

2 Simona CERRUTTI, Étrangers. Etudes d’une condition d’incertitude dans une société d’Ancien Régime, Paris, Bayard, 2012.

3 Colin CROUCH, Post-democracy, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2005.

4 Catherine COLLIOT-THÉLÈNE, La Démocratie sans demos, Paris, PUF, 2011.

5 Étienne BALIBAR, Citoyen-sujet et autres essais d’anthropologie philosophique, Paris, PUF, 2011.

6 Sandra LAUGIER, Albert OGIEN, Le principe démocratie. Enquête sur les nouvelles formes du politique, Paris, La Découverte, 2014.

PODCASTS
06/06/2019 - 3min 5s - Français