Right to the city in authoritarian context: urban practices and order

Room F
Monday, 31 August 2015
17.15 – 19.00
Africa, right to the city, urban geography

Within urban societies characterized by authoritarian practises of power, the right to the city is not mobilized neither as an academic or a militant category (Lefebvre, 1968; Uitermark, Nicholls, Loopmans, 2012; Kyumulu, 2013). City dwellers don’t use public space as a support for claiming their rights to be from the city, of the city and in the city. However, this contribution will aim to show the relevance of introducing the right to the city as an analytical category, in the authoritarian urban contexts, in order to consider the very large production process of urban norms. The invisibility of city dwellers’ strategies for staying in the city leads us to focus on the right to the city beyond political expression and public claims for rights. It implies all urban practices and public action, taken in their interactions. Two case study located in sub-Saharan Africa will help us to address these issues. The first one deals with the strategy of spatial invisibilisation of the prostitutes in Maputo (Mozambique) so as to stay in city, based from a fieldwork conducted in 2015. The second one seeks to renew the debate on eviction by paying attention on the process of normalisation, from Lome (Togo), with data collected in 2014. This reflection is taking part of a collective and comparative program “reconsidering right to the city from the South” (founded by an emergence program, city of Paris).

Amandine Spire
University Paris Diderot
amandinespire [at]
Karine Ginisty
Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
k.ginisty [at]

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