A&T – Actions & territorialisations

Spatial practices, collectives and public actions

The A&T axis, initiated at the end of 2014, aims to study the processes of territorialisation based on a reflection on the effects of individual and collective actions and their relations with the recomposition of public action. It is therefore a question of maintaining a space for debate, reflection, exchange and capitalisation on these themes within the CIST, based on a connection and comparison of the research work developed within the member laboratories. Reflection on the spatial and/or territorial effects of actions (individual, collective or public) constitutes a necessary level of questioning for the construction of territorial sciences anchored within the most contemporary debates of social sciences.

We propose to organise the 2019-2023 work around three sub-themes chosen for their capacity to constitute fields of questioning, on the one hand of recent territorial dynamics, and on the other hand of the modalities of interaction between these three forms of action.

Recomposition of the modalities of territorial actions

The reconfiguration of public action, partly linked to the disengagement of States, the rise of decentralisation and the involvement of new actors in governance arrangements, implies renewed conceptions of the modalities of action in the field of public policy. The logic of planning, after having been replaced by that of projects, is now replaced by that of cooperation, participation and empowerment. This leads to the implementation of new action guidelines and new forms of governance. These are now part of a political dynamics to promote the development of territories, sometimes based on local initiatives organised in the form of partnerships and framed by contractualisation procedures with the higher levels of the territorial system, sometimes in the form of competition between the different actors through different types of calls (for expressions of interest, innovative urban projects, etc.) that often converge. In such logics, the mobilisation of a network of actors becomes essential, if not primordial, in the efficiency of the implementation of public action.

The objective of this sub-theme is to question territorial development not as a means of solving a problem posed to a community but rather as the capacity of territories to recognise, engage and support the social mobilisation that guarantees the success of collective action to which public action must adapt, and this in different socio-spatial configurations (metropolises, rural territories, peri-urban spaces) that will be compared.

Relationship(s) to law(s) and territorialisation

It is a question here of questioning the place of the law, of the relations to the law, of the localised updating of the norms of action in the processes of territorialisation. The challenge is to open up a space for multidisciplinary debate that will enable the participating laboratories and researchers –from the fields of law, sociology and anthropology of law, political science– to broaden their scope by making the analysis of the implementation of law and its effects on individual action, collective action and public action more complex. Not only does law determine categories of uses and forms of action within processes of legal qualification of space, but the legal framework also assigns identities of action and resources to the various actors. Moreover, it is necessary to take into account its cognitive dimension.

Three main issues can be identified:

  1. What is the role of the tendencies towards the judiciarisation of conflicts of proximity coupled with demands for the legalisation of socio-territorial dynamics perceived as nuisances?
  2. How can we analyse the recompositions of the territoriality of law today tested by processes of internationalisation, hybridisation and trends towards legal pluralism?
  3. What changes in the forms of localised regulations adapted to projects, resource management or experiments built in terms of "commons"?
Localised transitions and territorial dynamics

This sub-theme aims at questioning the territorial effects of individual actions, collective actions, public actions that are part of the dynamics of socio-territorial transitions. In more or less voluntarist forms the transition has become a horizon of action within the framework of emancipation and empowerment projects or the necessary consideration of ecological, energy, environmental and/or social issues. Localised forms of commitment based on experiments in housing, exchanges, work and mobility seem to be multiplying, as well as the injunctions of public policies that promote changes in practices and enhance collective commitment and experimentation. Moreover, the evolution of socio-technical devices seems to promise the advent of new forms of individual, collective and societal reflexivity. This sub-theme will be based in particular on work on the capacity of localised social innovations to transform territorial dynamics.

Several levels of questioning can be developed:

  1. How does public action take into account social innovations and experiments?
  2. How can we characterise the forms of spatial inscription and the scales of innovation: isolated places, networks, multi-level combinations?
  3. How to analyse the processes of percolation of the values and principles of the actors of social innovations towards the local population and institutions, the change of lifestyles and norms?

Agenda de l’axe A&T