Karine Ginisty et Amandine Spire, “Right to the city in authoritarian context : urban practices and order”.
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 reflexion 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).
Kuymulu, M. B. 2013. « The vortex of rights : “right to the city” at a crossroads », International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 37, n° 3, p. 923‑940.
Lefebvre, H. 2009 . Le Droit à la ville, Paris : Economica–Anthropos (3e édition) ; Paris : Éditions du Seuil.
Uitermark, J. Nicholls, W. Loopmans, M. 2012. « Cities and social movements : theorizing beyond the right to the city », Environment and Planning A, vol. 44, n° 11, p. 2546‑2554.
Francesca Pilo’,”The socio-technical regularization of the electricity service and the right to the city in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas”
Universal access to urban services is recognized as a fundamental dimension of the implementation of the “right to the city”, and most importantly as the right to live in the city in dignified conditions. This question is particularly relevant in the cities of the South, where the inequalities in access to urban services, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, are part of a larger process of urban fragmentation. Based on a study of electricity regularization projects in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, this paper approaches the “right to the city” as a concept which allows us to reflect on the “co-production of spatialized and territorialized norms of the just and unjust between public authorities and citizens” (Morange and Spire 2014, p. 4). Through an empirical analysis of the socio-technical tools (Akrich 1987), particularly the electricity meters, we will show two things: On one hand, we show how the regularization of electricity service is a process which aims to “normalize” the behavior of these citizens as customer of a commercialized public service. On the other hand, we will explore the nature of the identified conflicts between the favelas’ inhabitants and the electricity distribution company.
This analysis is based on fieldwork conducted in Rio de Janeiro in 2010-2011, consisting of semi-structured interviews with 25 households in Santa Marta favela and with staff of the electricity distribution company. It is part of the author’s PhD thesis in Urban Planning defended in February 2015 at the Université Paris-Est (Pilo’ 2015).
Akrich, M. 1987. « Comment décrire les objets techniques? », Techniques & Culture, , no 9: 49‑64.
Morange, M., et A. Spire. 2014. « Le droit à la ville est-il soluble au Sud ? ». Métropolitiques, 5.
Pilo’, F. 2015. « La régularisation des favelas par l’électricité. Un service entre Etat, marché et citoyenneté ». Marne-la-Vallée: Université Paris-Est.