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Research activity

Urban Knowledge


Today the field of urban knowledge appears to be well-established, even if it does not fall within a specific academic discipline. The long history of the constitution of this field reveals a weak institutionalization of this research area (long seen as an interdisciplinary subject) and an varied origin where scientific activity always seems trapped by public action. We propose to unravel the events of the emergence of "urban knowledge"; this does not consist of reinventing a new genealogy. Instead, this endeavor aims to unsettle the classic questionnaire of a history of disciplines in the social sciences in order to explore the co-construction of city studies and representations of cities themselves. Openly interdisciplinary, this seminar intends to seriously study/consider all scholarly projects, including the most ordinary which are considered as marginal because they are produced by non-professional research; such projects include practical, action-oriented, and administrative knowledge. The seminar aims to be a place of discussion and exchanges about new works on urban knowledge. 

Organized in seven thematic sessions, the seminar brings together researchers with varied theoretical influences and research practices: from urban history to ethnography, via political science, sociology, and geography. This seminar addresses the fabric of urban knowledge via different aspects: the places of knowledge and the growth of the city, objects composing urban materiality from decor to garbage, the fabrication of urban planning which organizes the urban collective, the deployment of critiques and the fabrication of alternative urban orders,  the estheticization of the city and the construction of its visual reality, the fabric of urban hospitalities and the view of the city as a technical artifact.