1997 - Volume 38 > Numéro 1

ISSN 0035-2969

Taking into account the « territory effect » when analysing urban districts

pp. 97-117


According to the leading analysis, the crisis in towns corresponds essentially to a shift in the « social question », which means that territorial dimensions cannot give an explanation to the « urban question » as it exists in contemporary France. Our point of departure is the hypothesis that dysfuntioning in certain districts of urban outskirts (those which are targeted specifically by « town policy ») express above all the crisis of a certain type of territory, that of the « fordist residential area ». While proposing a look at the history and running of this urban style in the light of economic regulation, it will be shown how much the crisis is out of phase with the current period. If the social phenomena which mark the urban crisis are caused by global effects (changes in the productive system), they are also to be interpreted in relation to local effects developed on a territorial basis ; this will be illustrated by means of data from a field survey. Based on a classical urban anthropological approach, in two districts socio-economically similar but belonging to totally different urban areas (one in a suburban ZUP, the other in an old centre which has been modernized), it will be seen how individual or family trajectories can organize themselves differently depending on the territory where they occur.



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