Cities are back in town

The question of the city is back once again at the heart of the social sciences. The global dynamics of urbanisation and the growing role of cities in the production of wealth, but also of riots and poverty, mobility, the accumulation of technologies, the creation of inequalities and governance, are all elements that structure and interpenetrate the field. Contemporary questions on the transformation of cities and metropolitan centres recall the passionate debates of the early 20th century, in the era of the consolidation of nation states and industrial capitalism, and of the creation of new metropolitan ways of life, with their disruptive imaginary load.

Cities are simultaneously physical places where material constructions, technologies, public policies, and populations accumulate, and spaces of exchange, of circulation, of mobility, of transnationalisation. How should we approach the development of cities that are anchored in territories, but are at the same time at the heart of increasingly global dynamics of mobility?

The purpose of this programme is to initiate new research perspectives, to conduct systematic in-depth work on the Paris region, and to instigate a programme of comparison between cities in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa, around three major themes:

  • The spatialisation of inequalities, segregation (economic, social, educational and ethnic), and their effects on the relations between social groups, welfare states and urban inequalities;
  • Government, governance and democracy, urban policies, conflicts and activism;
  • Socio-economics of cities, institutions and economic development.

These three themes will be interwoven with more innovative questions, which will revitalise approaches to the urban sphere:

  • Social control, security, surveillance technology, public spaces;
  • Mobility, movement, and immigration;
  • Risks and technologies.

The series of Working Papers in the Cities and Territories programme allows ongoing research to be published in the form of provisional papers, and thereby contributes to the debates on urban issues. This regularly updated section is a vehicle for the dissemination of the work of the Cities and Territories group, and of the sociologists, political scientists and economists invited to the seminars run by the Cities programme.

We welcome proposals for contributions that give an up-to-date account of the literature or combine original empirical study of a concrete case with theoretical and/or methodological analysis.

Scientific coordinators

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