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Territorial Stigma and the Politics of Resistance in a Parisian Banlieue: La Courneuve and Beyond

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Publication details

JournalUrban Studies
DatePublished - Aug 2012
Issue number10
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)2067-2083
Original languageEnglish


Drawing on research carried out in the Parisian banlieue of La Courneuve, this article contributes to the sociological analysis of urban marginalisation in post-riot France. Beginning with a discussion of the broad relationship between society and space, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu's relational understanding of social space and how these complexities are inscribed in the urban, it moves on to consider how this relates to Lefebvre's production of space thesis. The main body of the article outlines some of the ways in which territorial stigmatisation is imposed and reproduced. Empirical material is treated here as 'diagnostic' of the symbolic domination that blights La Courneuve. Yet this material is also illuminative of the irregular and scattered forms that resistance to territorial stigma takes. It is suggested that the complex relationship between social and physical space is expressed through the construction of symbolic geographies of domination/resistance and negotiated through intricate 'entanglements of power'.

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