From « Likes and dislikes » to « Just and unjust »: Inhabitants’ sensory experiences and community protests in maritime industrial areas

Authors: Valérie Lavaud-Letilleul*, University of Montpellier 3, Isabelle Berry-Chikhaoui, University of Montpellier 3
Topics: Social Geography, Environmental Perception, Political Geography
Keywords: critical planning studies, radical geography, social geography, lived space, urban life, place attachment, community mobilization, city-ports, Maritime Industrial Development Areas, Marseille, Fos, France.
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Regency Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The aim of this paper is to question the relationship between inhabitants’ sensory experiences and community protests in coastal industrial areas. Inhabitants’ complex and varied sensory experiences are often neglected in the analysis of productive areas. What kind of everyday life practices (work, leisure…) are they related to? In what strongly contrasted environments are they experienced (industrial plants, urban neighborhoods, coastal areas…)? How do inhabitants value them on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis? What is the influence of “place attachment” and “downgraded environment” on local concerns and political involvement?
This paper will discuss the conceptual framework and the results of an empirical study. Our conceptual framework combines the concepts of “lived space” and “urban life”. The concept of “lived space” (1976) was coined by the social geographer Armand Fremont. Henri Lefebvre has coinced the concept of “urban life” in the 1960’s to denounce the effects that capitalism and industrialisation had over “the city” in everyday practices. Our theoretical framework is based on the philosopher Jacques Rancière’s work : The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible (2004). This work widely examined the connection of aesthetics with space and politics.
The study focuses on the first French Maritime Industrial Development Area, located in the Gulf of For (France). This grandiose project was planned in the 1960s by the French government as a major component of economic development and regional planning. Our methodology is based on the results obtained from a five-year enquiry conducted in three multidisciplinary research programs.

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