“Geography of Ghosts”, Géographie et Cultures, no 106

New issue of the journal Géographie et cultures on the “Geography of Ghosts“, no 106, directed by F.Barthe-Deloizy, M.Bonte, Z. Fournier, J.Tadié.

Article by Jérôme Tadié (in French): “Seeing Ghosts in Jakarta. The Deceased, Memory and the Urban Environment”.



Based on field work conducted in the emblematic context of the Indonesian capital city, this article analyses the role of ghosts in the relationships between city dwellers and their environment. It considers the significance of the apparitions of the deceased and (in a context where nobody questions their reality) the ways in which they shape the present-day urban space of Jakarta, revealing alternative ways of relating to the urban environment and city life. Apparitions can thus be seen as hinges between different times and different worlds (the visible and the invisible, life and death, etc.). Based on observations conducted on different scales, ranging from simple neighbourhood ghosts to the most prominent ones in popular culture, this article shows not only how they give a mirror image of the Jakartanese society, of its evolution and problems, but also how they shape the places where they appear, by creating a specific relationship to the city dwellers’ temporal, spatial and (meta?)physical environment.

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Tadié_Jakarta b - copie 2

Ghosts, Reappearing Dead and the Transformations of Jakarta, Jérôme Tadié

Lecture given at the Institut français d’Indonésie, Jakarta, March 21st, 2018, 17.30


What can ghosts tell us about the society of Jakarta? In a context where their existence is unquestioned, this lecture looks at what ghosts and the reappearing dead may signify and at the ways in which they shape urban space nowadays. Ghosts enable to articulate different temporalities (past and present) and worlds (the visible and the invisible, life and death, etc.). They are thus important actors in the city. They are also witnesses of forgotten facts and lives. As we shall see, ghost stories, from the most spectacular or famous ones at the level of the whole city of Jakarta to the most local and ordinary ones at the neighborhood level, reflect the relationships between the city dwellers and their spatial, temporal and physical environment. An invisible city thus interacts with the actual visible one in Jakarta.

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“Ghost Geographies” – call for papers (in French), Géographie et cultures journal

Call for articles for a special issue of Géographie et cultures on ghosts (Francine Barthe-Deloizy, Marie Bonte, Zara Fournier and Jérôme Tadié, eds). The articles in French (between 35 000 et 50 000 signs) are to be sent to the journal (gc@openedition.org) for November, 15 2017. A short abstract with the title has to be sent ahead.

More information here : http://calenda.org/404698

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Jakarta Leaders

“Looking for local leaders in Jakarta-a comparative perspective from Johannesburg”, C.Bénit-Gbaffou and J.Tadié.

Article published in L’Espace politique, no 30, Dec. 2016



This paper stems from deep debates engaged by to geographers working on politics in the city, and attempting to define the concept of « political informality ». They dispute in particular the place of the State in this definition – public norms, rules and practices in the shaping of power dynamics in the city. The conceptual debate is based on joint empirical fieldwork: based on Claire’s research in Johannesburg on local leadership, Jerome revisits with her his research sites in Jakarta – in quest of figures of local leaders in the city. The nature of these figures in Jakarta (and their differences with Johannesburg’s) reveals locally embedded political practices, and illuminates the specificities of each institutional, urban and socio-political contexts. The paper, constructed as a dialogue, illustrates the process of constructing academic thought – where concepts are eminently related to the local sites they aim at deciphering, and are constructed in iterative and dialogical ways. Its conclusion proposes an operational definition of the concept of “political informality” but also opens, for each author, to a different way of reading their own research sites, shaped by the encounter with the other.

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“Political Informality, Power and the Other Side of Urban Space”, new issue of L’Espace politique

edited by S.Jacquot, A.Sierra and J.Tadié

Links to the articles:

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Workshop “Cities in the Dark”, 12 october 2016, Paris-Diderot University

From 9 to 18, Olympe de Gouges building, université Paris-Diderot, 8, place Paul-Ricoeur – 75013 Paris

Program available here (pdf in French)

Organised by the City group of Urmis and the theme Production, politics and practices of the city of Cessma.

Program (in French)

9h :      Accueil et introduction

Acteurs et ambiances nocturnes (discutant : Nicolas Puig)

9h30 :       Didier Nativel, « Réflexions sur les ambiances nocturnes de villes coloniales d’Afrique subsaharienne »

10h00 :     Habib Belaïd, « Pratiques festives nocturnes à Tunis à l’époque coloniale »

10h30 :     Thomas Fouquet, « La nuit urbaine, une ‘troisième aire’ citadine ? Quelques hypothèses sur la nocturnité à Dakar »

11h00 : pause

11h30 :     Risa Permanadeli, Jérôme Tadié, « Des citoyens invisibles dans l’aménagement de Jakarta : Fantômes et occupation des espaces nocturnes de la ville. »

12h00 :     Chantal Chanson-Jabeur, « Une ville sous couvre-feu : l’exemple de Tunis (de 1930 à 2016) »

12h30 :     Synthèse et discussion

13h-14h30 : Déjeuner

Gérer l’obscurité (discutante : Monique Bertrand)

14h30 :     Odile Goerg, « ‘The present lights in the streets […] only served to intensify the darkness’ : éclairage, municipalités et citadins au tournant du XXème s., Freetown-Conakry ».

15h00 :     Rémi Desmoulière, « Territorialités nocturnes des transports en commun dans l’agglomération de Jakarta »

15h30 :     Francesca Pilo’, « Pannes électriques et divisions de l’espace urbain à Rio de Janeiro: une lecture politique »

16h00 : Pause

16h30 :     Robert Ziavoula, « Fiat lux, et l’obscurité vint. L’éclairage public comme métaphore politique à Brazzaville »

17h00 :     Kali Argyriadis (Urmis, IRD) : « De apagones y alumbrones : expériences, usages et mémoires des coupures d’électricité à La Havane” »

17h30 :   Synthèse et clôture de la journée

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Rio de Janeiro

Restitution of the Program “Urban Government and Illegalism”, July 12th 2016

This program in which several members of Inverses take part (Nicolas Bautès, Sébastien Jacquot and Marie Morelle) aims to discuss the organisation of illegal and informal activities (drug and cars’ traffic, street mechanics, street fooding, ambulant activities) in the urban peripheries of Paris, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro).
It studies the way people justify their activities and try to maintain it. It analyzes the practices and discourses ofthe institutions (and their agents) in charge of the repression, categorization, and sometimes formalization, of those activities, in order to maintain an urban order.
Finally, the program discusses the urban reconfigurations that occure in various contemporary economical and political contexts, and develops comparisons as part of its methodological approach, in order to break down the barriers of urban studies.

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“Day for Night in Metro Manila. Call Centres and New Night-Time Neighbourhoods”, by J.Tadié

J.Tadié, « Nuits américaines à Manille. Centres d’appels et nouveaux quartiers nocturnes », Sociétés politiques comparées, 38, jan.-avr. 2016.

This article analyses the dynamics of night-time neighbourhoods in Manila, in the context of the translation of Business Process Outsourcing activities (mainly call centres) in the city at night. Mainly at the service of the US market, these centres operate out of time, as they are beyond the usual rhythms of the metropolis. They blur the frontiers between night and day. This paper thus questions the relationships between night, cities and new economic sectors. A first part analyses the attempts to dissociate the nocturnal biases from the activity; before showing how the night was domesticated. A last part analyses how despite these efforts, the night remains influential, not only on the rhythms and work conditions, but also on the representations associated to the night workers.

Article available here (in French)



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Palerme Inverses

Workshop on the Inverses Program in Tours – March 10th, 2016

This workshop is organised within the CoST seminars (Social Construction and Politics of Territories) of the CITERES Research unit in Tours. It proposes a discussion of the main results of the INVERSES research program. With the participation of Sébastien Jacquot (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, EA EIREST, INVERSES), Fabrizio Maccaglia (Université François Rabelais, UMR CITERES, INVERSES) and Marie Morelle (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, UMR PRODIG, INVERSES). The discussion is moderated by Joël Cabalion (Université François Rabelais, UMR CITERES) and Valérie Cohen (Université François Rabelais, UMR CITERES).

The poster of the workshop is available here.

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Jakarta - Pela-Pela

“The Other Side of Cities” Film Festival: complete proceedings online

For those who were not able to attend all the debates of the Festival, the complete proceedings are now online.

The Festival « The Other Side of Cities » took place from October 16th to 21st, 2014 at La Clef Theater in Paris. It was part of one of the results of the Inverses program. It proposed a journey behind the scenes of cities, of how they are administered and how their residents intervene. From the point of view of both the inhabitants, their representatives and the governments, it showed how cities are constructed by hidden moves and movements that structure the city organisation on a daily basis. Across different continents, this festival showed intrigues, arrangements, manoeuvres and resistance in an urban context. Presenting fictions and documentaries, it offered a broad reflection on the role of power, alliance and conflict in hidden, not always visible, urban arenas.

We wish to thank Fabien Langeau for the transcripts and have a special thought for Matthieu Giroud who dramatically left us.

Proceedings (in French):

– « The Other Side of the City », October 16 2014, presented by Fabrizio Maccaglia and Jérôme Tadié.

– « Negotiating Laws and Rules », October 17 2014, presented by Sébastien Jacquot and Marie Morelle with Tommaso Vitale, Camille Dugrand and Arnaud Zajtman.

– « Occupying and Resisting », October 20 2014, presented by Nicolas Bautès, Sébastien Jacquot and Alexis Sierra with Agnès Deboulet, Matthieu Giroud and Jean-Michel Rodrigo.

– « Police Practices and the Criminal World », October 21 2014, presented by Nicolas Bautès and Jean Rivelois with Angelina Peralva and Laurent Gayer.

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“Doing urban research on different continents (India and Brazil) – Challenges to comparative analysis” by N.Bautès

Conference given by N.Bautès at the University of Oslo, November 30th, 2015


From the presentation of a research itinerary which involve extensive investigations in several popular neighborhoods of India and Brazil, my contribution will focus on different issues of urban politics, starting from some illustrations of urban projects included in urban (cultural) policies, following by addressing to social mobilization emerging to confront such exclusive politics. Social mobilizations are here understood both as collective work and politics of resistance, that include a specific work for and on space in the way to confront and address objectives shared by political society (Chatterjee, 2003).

Mobilizing cases studies in popular neighborhoods of Mumbai (India) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), I will try to draw the challenge of the construction of a research that involve crisscrossed perspectives. As other recent works, my standpoint conveys a major statement: the persistency and the rapid increase, in metropolises located both in North and South, of urban renewal projects. Urban renewal is defined through its demolition and eviction components, they being land expropriation or housing evictions. Our main argument emphasizes the importance of urban removal processes in some of the most dynamic metropolises on a demographic and economics level, as well as in metropolises wishing to change their image in order to increase their international attractivity. This process does renew older forms of voluntarist intervention on urban fabrics that were legitimated till the end of the 80’s by the argument to fight against insalubrity. Elaborated around this statement, our research led us to analyze the backdrop of conflictive social and political processes observed in the field of such urban neoliberal projects. Presenting the evolution of our research, we will focus on the new forms of so-call creative resistance movements using art to support protests and demands by city-dwellers, and on the ways how, in which ways and to what extend, social mobilization “from the slum” are contributing to urban politics. This way of approaching politics in the city makes then a wide place for the understanding of the main features and the perspectives of a subaltern urbanism, that will be analysed focussing on the challenges of a comparative approach.


Click here for the flyer

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Intervention of Matthieu Giroud at the Inverses Film Festival “The Other Side of the City”, October 20th, 2014

Our colleague Matthieu Giroud accepted to take part in one of the debates of “The Other Side of the City” film festival, on Monday, October 20th, 2014. We post here the transcript of the debates that he had edited (in French), as well as a recording of his intervention. He was commenting on Qian men qian. A Disappearance Foretold (Dans les décombres), directed by Olivier Meys (2008) and Villa El Salvador. Les bâtisseurs du désert, directed by Marina Paugam and Jean-Michel Rodrigo (2009).

Transcript of the debates (in French)

Recording (in French)

The proceedings of the evening are still available here (in French)

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aInformalité politiqueC-

Call for papers: “Political Informality, Power and the Other Side of Urban Space”, L’Espace Politique, deadline 15/01/16 (deadline extended)

Special issue of L’Espace politique, online journal of political geography and geopolitics, edited by S. Jacquot, A. Sierra and J. Tadié. Submissions can be in French or English. More information here.

Hands Over the CityChinatownThe Elite Squad… these and many other films depict the influence of informal or even illegal practices in cities such as Naples, Los Angeles or Rio de Janeiro. Beyond the symbolic dimension of these cities, these include informal ways of urban governance, which emerge together with the diversity of power controls. Cronyism, lack of transparency in the granting of public contracts, collusion, circulation of rumours, more or less autonomous forms of governance of neighbourhoods (such as self-management, lynching, vigilantes or control of markets by thugs), resistance (defined as mobilisation of citizens outside institutional spheres), organised racket: all of these practices can be viewed as modes of informal governance of the city. This issue of L’Espace politique aims at understanding the roles and meanings of informal practices in city governance and urban life. How does the diversity of urban power structures emerge and consolidate, in informal and sometimes illegal ways? What influence does it have on the production, administration and control of urban space?

By applying the notion of informality – which is usually encountered in economics – to the political realm, this call for proposals seeks to explore the importance of arrangements and informal (even transgressive) practices in cities – or what we may call the other side of city governance. The notion of political informality extends beyond the reference to the legal framework and to its transgression. It points more broadly to common social norms in relation with power structures. Thus, political informality encompasses the “forms, practices, activities and expressions which, because they are not benefiting from recognition and legitimacy from the prescribers and most influential agents of the field, are ‘rejected’ outside of this field even though they partake, fully or incidentally, in its constitution” (Le Gall, Offerlé and Ploux, 2012, p.16).

From this perspective, informality calls for another type of approach to the analysis of public policies, moving away from the usual perspectives, which tend to only take into account official and visible policies (participative programs, decentralisation). We need to consider implicit underlying practices such as corruption or clientelism for example. In the practice of power and governance, informality invites us to take into account ‘political’ dynamics outside or beyond overt practices.

Questioning political informality also implies that we analyse the structure of urban power: its diversity, its everyday forms, its articulations and visibility, as well as the mechanisms, which legitimise it. Such an inquiry can focus on the residents, the leaders, the political or economic elites of a city, whether they interact or not. What are the conditions for informal practices to become possible? What are the arrangements, margins of tolerance or circumventing strategies that characterize them? Are informal power centres articulated on the official forms of government (the State, decentralised powers, dominant local coalitions, etc.)? What relationships do they entertain with one another? Do they build alliances? Are they autonomous? Do they compete with one another? Are they related or disconnected? Are they at the source of urban differentiation? In other words, does political informality produce new power structures and new regimes of spatial ordering? 

The aim here is not to oppose, in a binary way, a dominant legal sphere to subjects characterised by their informal political practice. We wish rather to identify the modalities of the construction of political spaces – if not of politics – either on the margins of urban intervention – when informal actors play a political game in order to reach specific urban goals – or in the practice of everyday city governance. City residents with few resources or little access to the dominating spheres, intermediary social groups as well as elites, are all concerned with political informality. Through their original articulation with urban space, their arrangements transform the fabric of the city.

This special issue is at the junction of two academic traditions: urban studies – which often focus on official policies and dynamics – and the studies on informality – which are too often restricted to the cities of the global South and to the fields of economy or crime studies. We encourage contributions based on fieldwork in cities, which will be the basis for comparison between several local case studies. They can relate to the following topics (this list is non-exhaustive and with overlapping boundaries):

1. Political informality, everyday practices and the meaning of law in the city: proposals can examine the ways in which laws and rules are interpreted and transgressed in the everyday governance of the city. They can analyse how neglecting or circumventing those rules leads to reshape them (through favours, cronyism, nepotism, corruption…), as well as the roles and attitudes of the actors involved (public authorities, private actors, businesses, lobbies, mafias, city dwellers…).

2. Political informality and urban governance: can urban governance be analysed through the lens of political informality? How do groups of residents, coalitions of public or private actors or political parties emerge and maintain themselves? Does the State itself use informal repertoires in urban governance?

3. Political informality and the resistance of residents: beyond the spheres of institutionalised mobilisation and political contestation, what are the informal practices contesting established urban power structures? What are the repertoires of political action for the residents deprived of recognised political rights? 

4. Spaces of informal organisation: certain spaces are governed through informal practices, by alternative, and sometimes criminal, structures. How do they maintain themselves? What are their relationships – if any – with the State or the government? How do they build their legitimacy or make themselves accepted by the residents?

The role of practical knowledge: what types of knowledge are used in the conduct of informal arrangements or the circumvention of rules? How are rumours, legends, etc. articulated on political informality?

6. Arrangements and temporality: are there favourable moments or privileged spaces in the constitution, negotiation, conduct or contestation of such arrangements? As they are based on different contexts and representations of the city, as well as on sometimes ephemeral networks, how can they be stabilized and become permanent?

Contributions should be sent to Sébastien Jacquot (sebastien.jacquot@univ-paris1.fr), Alexis Sierra (a.alexis.sierra@gmail.com) and Jérôme Tadié (jerome.tadie@ird.fr) before January 15, 2016. Please send us for December 15, 2015 an abstract of the intended article.

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Jakarta night Bongkaran Tanah Abang

Night and the City: Clubs, Brothels and Politics in Jakarta

Article published by J.Tadié and R.Permadeli in Urban Studies, Vol.52(3), 2015, p.471-485.

This article analyses the significance of Jakarta’s night venues, defined in a narrow way (bars, clubs and prostitution complexes). They represent not only forms of modernisation and their acceptance in a city from the developing world, but they show how usual means of controlling the night have different understandings and produce different types of arrangements, regarding where one is located. We show how informal agreements are central to ordering the night and to governance processes, and how they produce different types of territories within an Indonesian context. The first part draws a topography of the night-time economy in Jakarta, showing how the evolution of the venues reflects both the growth of the metropolis and Indonesia’s different political regimes. Then the paper analyses the inner (dis)organisation of the venues and neighbourhoods in which they are concentrated, before assessing the meaning of the policies aimed at creating order in the city at night, showing how appearances of order take precedence over the effective planning of the metropolis.

For more information, see the journal’s web page here.

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CBG leaders ijurr Inverses

Community Leadership and the Construction of Political Legitimacy: Unpacking Bourdieu’s ‘Political Capital’ in Post‐Apartheid Johannesburg

Article by Claire Bénit-Gbaffou in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies, 38(5), 1807-1832 available here.



Apart from local monographs and normative texts on community participation, research on community leadership constitutes a blind spot in urban leadership, urban politics, social movements and urban studies. This article, based on case studies in post‐apartheid Johannesburg, contributes to theorizing community leadership, or informal local political leadership, by exploring Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘political capital’ and ‘double dealings’. Considering community leaders as brokers between local residents and various institutions (in South Africa, the state and the party), we examine how leaders construct their political legitimacy, both towards ‘the bottom’ (building and maintaining their constituencies), and towards ‘the top’ (seeking and sustaining recognition from fractions of the party and the state). These legitimation processes are often in tension, pulling community leaders in contradictory directions, usefully understood under Bourdieu’s concept of ‘double dealings’. Community leaders are required, more than formally elected political leaders, to constantly reassert their legitimacy in multiple local public arenas due to the informal nature of their mandate and the high level of political competition between them — with destructive consequences for local polity but also the potential for increased accountability to their followers. We finally reflect on the relevance of this theoretical framework, inspired by Bourdieu, beyond South African urban politics.

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FM Mars 15 La  ville et les déchets Inverses

Political economy of wastes management in Palermo : informal dynamics of local government (1950-2014), by F.Maccaglia

Lecture at the workshop: “The City and its Waste. Production, Circulation, Management and Processing”

Summary :

The dysfonctions established in the urban cleaning activities in Palermo’s city are the starting point for an analysis of informal dynamics of local government. While the concept of informality is usually associated with urban contexts of developing countries and the records of the habitat, street trade and economy, here it is mobilized to propose a reading of the local political order and its regulation process. It is, therefore, following the work of Manuel Castells and Alejandro Portes (1989), to consider informality, firstly, in its link with the political institutions and, secondly, not as a state but a process as it is a product of socio-political relations historically situated.


Program available here

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“The Other Side of Cities” Film Festival: proceedings online

The Festival « The Other Side of Cities » took place from October 16th to 21st at La Clef Theater in Paris. It was part of one of the results of the Inverses program. It proposed a journey behind the scenes of cities, of how they are administered and how their residents intervene. From the point of view of both the inhabitants, their representatives and the governments, it showed how cities are constructed by hidden moves and movements that structure the city organisation on a daily basis. Across different continents, this festival showed intrigues, arrangements, manoeuvres and resistance in an urban context. Presenting fictions and documentaries, it offered a broad reflection on the role of power, alliance and conflict in hidden, not always visible, urban arenas.

Proceedings (in French):

– « The Other Side of the City », October 16 2014, presented by Fabrizio Maccaglia and Jérôme Tadié.

– « Loi et arrangements », October 17 2014, presented by Sébastien Jacquot and Marie Morelle with Tommaso Vitale, Camille Dugrand and Arnaud Zajtman.

– « Habiter et résister », October 20 2014, presented by Nicolas Bautès, Sébastien Jacquot and Alexis Sierra with Agnès Deboulet, Matthieu Giroud and Jean-Michel Rodrigo.

– « Pratiques policières et mondes du crime », October 21 2014, presented by Nicolas Bautès and Jean Rivelois with Angelina Peralva and Laurent Gayer.

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FM fond

“Northern Mafias: the territorial spread of organised crime in Italy”, by F.Maccaglia

Review of Rocco Sciarrone (ed.), Mafie del Nord. Strategie criminali e contesti locali, Rome, Donzelli, 2014, by Fabrizio Maccaglia in Metropolitics.eu

The presence of Mafia organisations outside the Mezzogiorno, long downplayed by the Italian public authorities, has become more visible in recent years. A collective work sheds light on the spread of Mafia activity in Italy, and in particular the mechanisms used to infiltrate local economic and political fabrics.

Article available here

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International Festival of Geography of Saint-Dié 2014 : Alexis Sierra : Inhabiting the territories of uncertainty

Alexis Sierra gave two conferences at the International Festival of Geography of Saint Dié (France) which developed the problems of inhabiting territories of uncertainty.

The first conference, on October 3rd, dealt with inhabiting remote areas within the agglomeration of Lima. It showed how the indetermination of administrative boundaries within the city is conducive of the emergence of conflicts between the different municipalities. In the meantime, the people living there use them as an opportunity, with different strategies to circumvent the rules.

The October 5th conference focused on dwelling in risk zones. It showed how risk constructs forms of domination that leads to the stigmatization of some dwelling modes, against which the inhabitants develop resistance. In the meantime, they develop useful resources for the management of possible crises. Those lecture were an opportunity to present the Inverses research program, which co-financed those lectures.

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October 16th to 21st: “The Other Side of Cities” Film Festival – La Clef Theater (Paris)

The Festival « The Other Side of Cities » is organized at La Clef Theater in Paris, from October 16th to 21st.

This Film festival proposes a journey behind the scenes of cities, of how they are administered and how their residents intervene. From the point of view of both the inhabitants, their representatives and the governments, it shows how cities are constructed by hidden moves and movements that structure the city organisation on a daily basis. Across different continents, this festival shows intrigues, arrangements, manoeuvres and resistance in an urban context. Presenting fictions and documentaries, the festival offers a broad reflection on the role of power, alliance and conflict in hidden, not always visible, urban arenas. To develop the understanding of such facts, the evening projections are followed by debates with the audience, moderated by researchers from the Inverses Research Program, altogether with academics and film makers.

Four main themes structure this edition: the relationships between business and political circles (the role of collusion in urban projects); the importance of the law and how it is often bypassed (through public corruption, lobbying, clientelism or patronage); the resistance of the inhabitants in diverse evolving urban contexts (evictions, urban renovation); the control of the city on a day-to-day basis (as seen by the practices of the police).

Program available here

Festival Poster available here

General Information:

Address: Cinéma La Clef – 34, rue Daubenton – 75005 PARIS

M° Censier-Daubenton (line 7)

Bus 47, Censier-Daubenton stop / Bus 89, Buffon-La Mosquée stop

Ticket prices:

Full: 6,50 €

Student: 3 €

Pass 4 films : 20 €

UGC and Gaumont cards are not accepted.

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June 18th 2014 – Seminar « Territories and Informality in Cities » – C. Marie Dit Chirot

Next meeting of the seminar « Territories and informalities in Cities » : Clément MARIE DIT CHIROT (ESO et université de Caen):La Ville négociée. Valorisation touristique et conflits pour l’espace à Playa del Carmen (Mexique)“.


Wednesday, June 18th, 14h to 16h
Building Olympe de Gouges, room 209 (2nd floor)

The intervention will make reference to:

– Combes H. (2011), “Donde estamos con el estudio del clientelismo?“, Desacatos. Revista de Antropologia social, n°36, pp. 13-32.

– Hibou B. (2011), Anatomie politique de la domination, La Découverte, Introduction et 1ère partie sur le clientélisme.

– Marie dit Chirot C. (2012), “La ville négociée. Flux et reflux dans une mobilisation locale pour l’accès au logement à Playa del Carmen, Mexique“, Géocarrefour, Vol.87/1, pp. 37-46

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credit: Guro Aandahl

May 5th 2014 – Seminar « Territories and Informality in Cities » – Glyn Williams

Next meeting of the seminar « Territories and informalities in Cities » : Glyn Williams (Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield) : “Making Space for Women in Urban Politics? Leadership and Claim-making in a Kerala Slum Upgrade Project“.


Monday, 5th mai, 14h to 16h
Building Olympe de Gouges, room 268 (2nd floor)

The intervention will make reference to:

1. on the relationship between formal and informal politics:

Blom Hansen, T 2004 Politics as permanent performance: the production of political authority in the locality in A Wyatt, J Zavos and V Hewitt, (eds.) The Politics of Cultural Mobilisation in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. 20-36.

Blom Hansen, T 2005 Sovereigns beyond the State: On Legality and Authority in Urban India in Blom Hansen, T and Stepputat, F  (eds.) Sovereign Bodies: Citizens, Migrants and States in the Postcolonial World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP. 169-191

Lund, C. (2006a). “Twilight Institutions: An Introduction.” Development and Change 37(4): 673-684

Lund, C. (2006b). “Twilight Institutions: Public Authority and Local Politics in Africa.” Development and Change 37(4): 685-705

Partha Chatterjee, 2004. ‘Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World’ (Columbia University Press, 2004)

Partha Chatterjee 2011 The Debate Over Political Society Chapter 14 of Ajay Gudavarthy (ed), 2011, Re-framing Democracy and Agency in India: Interrogating Political Society. London: Anthem Press 305-322.

2. on the interface between ‘invited’ spaces for participation and urban politics in India:

Coelho, K., L. Kamath, and M Vijaybaskar (2011). Infrastructures of consent: interrogating citizen participation mandates in Indian urban governance. IDS Working Paper Series (Working Paper 362) Brighton, IDS.

3. for (hopefully!) accessible introductions to Kerala’s politics:

Heller, P 2001. Moving the State: the politics of democratic decentralization in Kerala, South Africa, and Porto Alegre. Politics and Society 29 (1), 131-163

Heller, P 2009 “Making Citizens from Below: India’s Emerging Local Government” in Gary Bland and Cynthia J. Arnson, editors Democratic Deficits: Addressing Challenges to Sustainability and Consolidation Around the World. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. 85-1

Williams, G., Thampi, B.V., Narayana, D., Nandigama, S., and Bhattacharyya, D. (2011). Performing Participatory Citizenship: Politics and Power in Kerala’s Kudumbashree Programme, Journal of Development Studies 47(8): 1261-1280

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Golfe de Palerme depuis Bellolampo

Influence Peddling and Privatization of the State

“Case Study of the Attribution of Public Contracts in the Waste Sector in Sicily”, Espaces et sociétés, « Espaces notoires de trafic », n°4, 2013.

Summary : This paper proposes, from an empirical study relating to the waste market management in Sicily during the 2000th decade, an analysis of informal practices in decision making at the state level, and shows how the common good idea can be rigged and seized for private interests by the holders of power. With the elements gathered during the investigation, which reveals a cartel agreement between the successful bidders with the complicity of regional political and administrative leaders, we assume a privatization of the state in the meaning of appropriation and embezzlement by public actors of the symbolic of state and the administrative apparatus for private purposes. The fiction of the common good and the state language are used so that individual interests become the interests of the State. This personal appropriation of the state institution creates a situation of political split between formal and informal register ; and it is in this split that public policies are developed and the state is built day-to-day. The stress will be particularly laid on how law is mobilized to assemble and implement informal dealings in a social space where the decisions of the authorities and administrations are subjected to procedures of publicization and control.

Key words : influence pedding ; public contract ; State ; Privatization ; Waste management ; Sicily.

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Community Activists Tell Their Story – Driving Change in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni (ed. Claire Benit-Gbaffou)

The Wits University Masters in Urban Studies students, CUBES and NRF Chair in Development Planning and Modelling have launched the research report Community Activists Tell Their Stories: Driving Change in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, edited by Prof. Claire Benit-Gbaffou, on Monday 24 June 2013 in Wits University, Johannesburg.

About 50 people attended the event, including community activists, students and academics.

Based on Masters students research, the report compiles 13 portraits of community activists in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, and reflects on the difference that community leaders make in the city; on the excitements and challenges of community leadership; on the nature of urban change.


To access the report or know more, click here…

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Conference on Jakarta at night at Salihara Community, Jakarta

Jakarta, a City at Night. Talk by J.Tadié, Komunitas Salihara, Jakarta June 11 2013

Jakarta, A City at Night
Speakers: Jérôme Tadié and Teguh Dartanto
Tuesday, June 11,  2013, 07:00 PM
Serambi Salihara | Open to the public

Of the 11 million people occupying Jakarta during daytime, only 8 million are left by nightfall. Every evening, hundreds of thousands and even millions of people move away from Jakarta to return to their homes in one of Jakarta’s many satellite cities. However, Jakarta’s economic life never stops. It continues into the night but with a different character. The souls working throughout the night help turn Jakarta’s economic wheel with equal gusto as their day walking counterparts.

Nighttime entertainment spots do not have a singular claim on Jakarta’s nighttime economic activities. Other sectors include terminals, seaports, and traditional markets. Not just legal businesses, the “darker” side partakes in this nighttime activity also.

This discussion introduces Jérôme Tadié and Teguh Dartanto. Jérôme Tadié is a French sociologist who wrote Les territoires de la violence à Jakarta (Indonesian version: Wilayah Kekerasan di Jakarta, Masup Jakarta, 2009). His current research is on Jakarta’s nightlife. Teguh Dartanto is lecturer and researcher at Department of Economics, University of Indonesia, Depok.

For more information, check the website

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Datta Cover image

Seminar « Territories and Informality in Cities » – A. Datta

Next meeting of the seminar « Territories and informalities in Cities » : Ayona Datta, the illegal city. Space, law and gender in Dehli’s slums.
Ayona Data, school of geography, university of Leeds
Friday, 26th April, 10h30 to 12h30, room 870, building Olympe de Gouges, University Paris-Diderot, rue Albert Einstein, 8e floor.
The intervention will make reference to :
– Appadurai, A. 2001. Deep Democracy: Urban Governmentality and the Horizon of Politics. Environment and Urbanization,
13(2), 23–43.
– Benjamin, W. 1978. Critique of Violence. In Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings by W. Benjamin and
P. Demetz, New York: Schocken Books, 277–300.
– Datta, A 2012. ‘Introduction’, in The Illegal City: Space, Law and gender in a Delhi Squatter Settlement, Farnham: Ashgate. .
– Holston, J. 2008. ‘Chapter 6: Legalizing the Illegal’ in Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Democracy and modernity in
Brazil, Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp 203-232.

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Private: Fires, Urban Environments, and Politics in Contemporary Jakarta

J. Tadié, “Fires, Urban Environments, and Politics in Contemporary Jakarta”, in G.Bankoff, U. Lübken, J.Sand (ed.), Flammable Cities. Urban Conflagration and the Making of the Modern World, Madison, Univ. of Wisconsin Press, p.372-389.

Fires have been striking Jakarta two or three times a day on average since the 1980s and date back to the colonial origins of the city. They are one of the most common and dreaded disasters to hit the Indonesian capital city. Their abrupt nature contrasts with the recurrence that establishes them as part of the everyday processes affecting the urban environment. They reveal the transformations of the built environment on the one hand and of the city’s extension and development on the other. They have been part of Jakarta’s evolution and transformation and are a marker of its growth and regeneration.

Uncontrolled fires thus point to the changes in fire management – revealing the changes in building materials (especially in temporary or semi-permanent housing), in equipments (the generalisation of electricity, the use of diverse types of cooking facilities), and also in the structures meant to deal with such hazards (from fire-fighting agencies to city-planning regulations – or the lack thereof). Fires therefore afford a vantage point from which to view the structures of management and governance that have changed over time. “Accidental” fires help us to understand how urban environments are controlled, both from a physical angle and with respect to their more political and social aspects. As they are complex phenomena, whose causes and reasons can range from mere accidents to arson, they involve different types of actors and practices (formal, informal and occult) in the urban arena.  Focusing on the fires that have taken place during the period of greater transformation of the city – since the early 1970s up to the present day – this paper aims at addressing the links between the evolving physical urban environment and the political means of governing a metropolis.

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Seminar « Territories and Informality in Cities », F.Dorso: “Relief Valves of the City, Cases of Compromise around Informal Habits in France and Turkey”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 2-4pm:

Seminar « Territories and Informality in Cities »,  F.Dorso: “Relief Valves of the City, Cases of compromise around informal habits in France and Turkey”

Selected readings:

– G. Bachelard, 2009 (1957), La poétique de l’espace, Puf, Paris, pp 27-29.
– M. Blanc,1998, « La transaction, un processus de production et d’apprentissage du “vivre-ensemble” », in Blanc, M., Freynet,
M.F. et Pineau, G. (dir.), 1998, Les Transactions aux frontières du social, Chronique Sociale, Lyon, pp. 219-238.
– F. Dorso, 2007, « Batailles territoriales et symboliques autour de la muraille de Théodose II à Istanbul », Espaces et Sociétés,
n° 130, 3/2007, pp 103-117.

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La police Favela

Rio de Janeiro : the police takes controle of the favelas of Roncinha and Vidigal. Article by N.Bautès and R.Soares Gonçalves

On the operations of pacification and on communitary police in Rio de Janeira, see the forthcoming article of Nicolas Bautès and Rafael Soares Gonçalves, “Improving Security in Poor Areas”, in Justice Spatiale-Spatial Justice end of 2011, http://www.jssj.org/

Abstract :

This paper analyses the recent measures taken by the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro concerning public security in the context of several international events being organised in the city, including the 2016 Olympic Games. Falling within the framework of the Federal Programme of Security and Citizenship (Pronasci), these measures aim first and foremost at improving security in several favelas of the city by establishing so-called Pacifying Police Units (UPP). With the study of spatial logics prevailing in the establishment of these units in strategically selected districts, associated with that of the daily practices of residents in several favelas of Rio alongside community-based police forces, we were able to characterise the close link between public security and urban policies. Beyond the displayed objectives of social peace preservation, we examine this link to question the permanence of social difficulties experienced by the majority of favela residents, and to question the underlying land and real estate stakes revealed by these actions. Does the evolution of intervention methods in urban public security, which appears to be closely related to territorial marketing strategies, reflect the unequal and possibly unfair treatment of some of the poorest areas of the city, or does it, on the contrary, lead to considering new means of security provision in areas highly affected by violence, poverty and a lack of public services?

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Zone portuaire

Rio de Janeiro, Harbour Zone: Field work by N.Bautès

15 August 2011 : Fieldwork Nicolas Bautès

12 July – 15 August 2011 : Brésil – Rio de Janeiro

Location: Harbour zone, favela Morro da Providência.

* Second round of fieldwork (7 days in February 2011)

Main topics:

  1. Identification of the actors involved against the renovation operation of the harbour zone of the city, in Porto Maravilha and Morar Carioca (specific in the favela),
  • Attitudes and produced discourses: axes of contestation
  • What kind of actors for what kind of mobilisation?
  • Types of mobilisation and means of resistance
  1. Participation to reunions and debates of the Community Forum of the Region of the Harbour, created in May 2011: 3 reunions, more than 30 inhabitants of the favela present
  2. Interview of 2 municipal representatives (vereadores, Parti PSOL), of members of the NGO FASE, of 2 university teachers involved against the renovation project, of one political representative of the PT-Biolutas Political Party.
  3. Collection of law texts and maps and plans (with R. Soares Gonçalves) linked to the operation of Porto Maravilha.


* Organisation and direction with Rafael Soares Gonçalves of a panel at the Xth CONLAB – Congresso Luso-Afro Brasileiro de Ciencias Sociais, “Diversidades e Desigualdades”, Salvador de Bahia, 07-10 August 2011.

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actu 4

Genoa, fieldwork by S. Jacquot

Genoa … June 2011

This fieldwork trip was led in June 2011, and its objective was to study the modes of regulation, in various spaces of the historic centre of Genoa, especially in the Ghetto and waterfront.

Interviews were conducted with the Municipality (security services), the Region, members of associations (of inhabitants, in relation with the mosque of the Ghetto, …), as well as with users of those spaces. They were aimed at understanding the practices and positions related to informal activities. Observations  were also done, mainly on the police interventions in the waterfront, during public meetings, as well as meetings of associations .

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