Call for articles - Relations to space and forms of involvement. Rootedness, attachment, territorialisation

1 June 2019

The selected articles will be published in n. 39 (2019) of the journal L’Espace politique

Coordinators of the issue

Patrice Melé (CITERES, Université de Tours, CNRS)
Catherine Neveu (IIAC, CNRS EHESS)

The aim of this issue of L’Espace politique is to analyse how the question of the relations to space developed by individuals and groups is explored within research dealing with local mobilisations, proximity conflicts or territorialised forms of involvement.
At first sight, it is possible to identify the pervasiveness of references to the “identity” of groups that would thus be characterised by a certain form of localisation or of appropriation of places, spaces and territories. Notions of belonging, rootedness, and attachment are then used to account for the qualities of the relation individuals or groups entertain with places and spaces. Urban research has been characterised by references to the roles of “the neighbourhood” (Authier, Bacqué, Guérin-Pace, 2007) and by debates about the strength of “local communities”. Such ways to relate to space are considered as supports for mobilisation (Sébastien, 2016); as resources available for actors –see for instance the notion of “autochthony capital” (Retière, 2003)-; as explanatory elements for launching opposition to projects affecting uses or modes of appropriation of a given space; or in other cases as shelters.
Indeed the vocabulary of rootedness or identity has been the object of a series of criticism (Debarbieux, 2014), and some refer to the more processual notion of identification to groups or spaces. Research exploring the effects of conflicts highlights that which is produced or modified by mobilisations, and identifies new forms of territorialisation (Melé, 2013). Other conceptions lead to consider mobilisations and involvements as multi-level networks (Neveu, 2013) and local spaces as milieux, as contexts, allowing to amplify, relay and relocalise a cause (Chateauraynaud, 2011). Yet others problematize the diverse configurations connecting forms of attachment and forms of involvement (Sencébé, 2004). But one nevertheless remains with the feeling that a large part of research on local forms of mobilisation or involvement tends to presuppose or identify the existence of localised or territorialised groups considered as collective actors; or to consider local conflicts as expostulary translations of attachments to places (Dechezelles, Olive, 2016).
Numerous case studies have shown that it is often when confronted to a threat that groups constitute themselves on a local basis in order to protect their life space, and develop strategies of appropriation and promotion. Yet paradoxically very few research questions the belief in the existence of a causal relation between the territorialisation of spatial experiences and mobilisations. Despite many research on urban practices highlighting the building of a networking urban experience, or analysing the spatial dimensions of mobilisations (Ripoll, Tissot, 2010), very few researchers establish a connection between such practices and forms of mobilisations -in particular in regards with working-class groups- with the notable exception of research dealing with the experience of migrants in metropolis (Boudreau, Boucher, Liguori, 2009) or analysing transnational forms of involvement (Lardeux, 2018).
In such a context, the aim of this issue will be to gather research questioning in different ways notions of rootedness, attachment, autochthony and/or proposing alternative manners to grasp the relations between space and forms of mobilisation and involvement.
Proposed papers can deal with different forms of involvement on social, urban, environmental or patrimonial issues. Four themes of discussion between papers have been identified so far:
– How can we think relations between socio-spatial dynamics –mutations of modes of living/inhabiting and of mobilities- and transformations of forms of involvement?
– How can we grasp both the effects of mobilisations on relations to space, and the long-term process of territorial building?
– How can we think the place of space within multi-level mobilisations, or within mobilisations rooted both internationally and locally?
– How can we grasp the relations between on the one hand, strategies of “climbing in generality” developed by certain mobilised local groups; and on the other attempts to “climb in particularity” by activists trying to anchor a cause in a space; as well as new ways to build territorialised “commons”?

Instructions to authors

The proposed articles (40,000 to 60,000 characters) are to be sent by June the 1st 2019.

In order for the peer review process to be organised correctly, please inform the persons in charge of the special issue as soon as possible of your intention to submit a paper, by sending them a provisional title and short abstract.
Please respect the journal’s instructions et d’anonymiser complètement votre article (références à des travaux antérieurs, figures, cartes, etc.).


AUTHIER, J.-Y., BACQUÉ, M.-H., GUÉRIN-PACE, F., 2007, Le quartier, Paris, La Découverte.
BOUDREAU, J., BOUCHER, N., LIGUORI, M., 2009, « Taking the bus daily and demonstrating on Sunday: Reflections on the formation of political subjectivity in an urban world », City, vol. 13, n° 2-3, p. 336-346.
CHATEAURAYNAUD, F., 2011, Argumenter dans un champ de forces, essai de balistique sociologique, Petra.
DEBARBIEUX, B., 2014, « Enracinement – Ancrage – Amarrage : raviver les métaphores », L’Espace géographique, vol. 43, n° 1, p. 68-80.
DECHEZELLES, S., OLIVE, M., 2016, « Introduction. Lieux familiers, lieux disputés – dynamiques des mobilisations localisées », Norois, vol. 238-239, n° 1-2, p. 7-21.
LARDEUX, L., 2018, « Engagement transnational des descendants d’immigrés : carrières militantes et “rapport aux origines” », Cultures & Conflits, vol. 109, n° 1, p. 61-82.
MELÉ, P. (Éd.), 2013, Conflits de proximité et dynamiques urbaines, Rennes, France, PUR.
NEVEU, C. , 2013, « Sites of citizenship, politics of scale », in W. Maas (dir.), Multilevel Citizenship, Philadelphie, University of Pennsylvania Press, p. 203-212.
RETIÈRE, J.-N., 2003, « Autour de l’autochtonie. Réflexions sur la notion de capital social populaire », Politix, vol. 63, n° 3, p. 121-143.
RIPOLL, F. et TISSOT, S., 2010, « La dimension spatiale des ressources sociales », Regards sociologiques, n° 40, p. 5-7.
SÉBASTIEN, L., 2016, « L’attachement au lieu, vecteur de mobilisation collective ? Étude de cinq territoires ruraux », Norois, vol. 238-239, n° 1-2, p. 23-41.
SENCEBE, Y., 2004, « Etre ici, être d’ici. Formes d’appartenance dans le Diois », Ethnologie française, vol. 34, n° 1, pp. 23-29.