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numéro 112
mai 2017

Le genre urbain

Marianne Blidon

Cities play an central role in the production, consumption and reproduction of gender norms and identities. At the same time, the city is the scene of social interactions and routinely sexually differentiated practices in the domestic space, public space or daily mobility. However, the articulation between these two dimensions- the fact that the city produces gender as the gender produces the city- is rarely worked as such. This article aims to better define the gender to think the urban.

Claire Hancock et Marylène Lieber

Feminist urbanists and geographers have been discussing what a non-sexist city would be for decades. This paper looks at forms of femininity that are promoted in recent urban gender mainstreaming policies, and the geographical framework these policies imply in France. Feminist movements have been challenging these policies and pointing at other forms of violence and insecurity that have to be taken into account to work toward a really inclusive city planning.

Lucile Biarrotte

This article mixes the monographic knowledge of urban initiatives dedicated to women’s empowerment to the understanding of transnational feminist networks and of the circulation of urban “good practices”. Linking those three topics completes the understanding of the emergency factors, feasibility and spatial productions of such programs, both at the micro and macro levels. The debates and paradoxes crossing those illustrate both global phenomena of urban “models” and feminist concepts spreading. We can then discuss the possible contours of a more emancipatory urban planning, which would take gender inequalities into account.

Marie Gilow et Pierre Lannoy

The article aims at developing a typology of anxiety-provoking places as they are perceived by female citizens when they walk through an urban environment. Based on a qualitative study of interviews with ten women living in Brussels, it explores the ways in which spatial and situational characteristics can provoke anxiety through the combination of sensorial impressions and particular spatial configurations that set the framework for potentially threatening encounters. Hence, the perception of places and its interpretation question how space reproduces asymmetric gender relations through urban atmospheres, forms and presences.

Julian Devaux et Nicolas Oppenchaim

Practices and relationships from teenagers to the city are more often than not apprenhended only by gender and inequalities between girls and boys. This article aims, from a mixed methodology and a comparison between rural environment and sensitive urban areas, to show that the gender is not the only influencing variable to act on mobility socialization processes at teenager period. Indeed, gender effect on these processes can be translated differently according to social and residential backgrounds of teenagers.

Élise Vinet, Cynthia Cadel, Arnaud Beal

In this article, we look at a urban renewal program, targeting social diversity in public housing neighborhoods. We explore the impact of these types of programs. The analysis focuses on the socio-spatial attributions and also on the feelings of young men, often seen as “undesirables” - a perception shared by a lot of policymakers and inhabitants. These young men carrying a sense of inequity, are driven through resignation, accusation, fatalism, and call-out to officials. They experience a conflicting relationship to physical and social spaces, traditionally gendered and ruffled by urban renewal - café, food shops, building hallway, new limited-access equipments, or old equipments. Facing this tangible ostracization, new re-categorization strategies appear also among old-comers inhabitants.

Sarah Nicaise

In order to report interrelations between gender and urban space - in their various dimensions, this article examines the experiences of stigmatization of women identifying themselves as “dykes”, members of a “transpédégouine” group, in urban public spaces. Extracted from an ethnographic investigation, it highlights the ways in which the principles ruling the gender and sexual order are mobilized in the insults they frequently receive when walking the streets of their city, in link with the gender identification laid upon their self-presentations. Secondly, rendering the most commonly used forms and modalities of moving in the city, it analyzes the effects of these attempts of normalization on their uses of the city. Finally, it attempts to reveal their strategic urban practices of management of stigma, between resistance and avoidance, as well as the gender and social conditions which underlie them.

Marion Tillous

In both Japan and Brazil, controversies surrounding the introduction of women-only carriages in the metro system reveal the way in which the social problem of sexual harassment is posed and how far gender and class issues intersect. However, while in early twentieth century Tokyo the arguments in favour of separation were voiced by the upper class and featured an aspect of explicit social distancing, in early twenty-first century São Paulo the voices demanding this measure are those of working class women. In spite of this, however, organisations representing these women have until now been afforded no place within this debate. This article seeks to explain the reasons for such exclusion, with a controversy analysis that draws upon written materials (press articles and blog posts) and interviews.

Claire Brisson

This article studies the articulation of a local culture of the beach in Rio de Janeiro and of discourses on the accepted/acceptable body. It highlights the production of a standardized version of racialized masculinity : indeed, the bodies of young black men are exploited in widely disseminated media representations, as metaphors of territorial control issues, leading to the construction of stereotypical space standards. Thus, the expression of masculinities is articulated with race and racialization.
This level of discourse, essentialist, is confronted with the practices and experiences of those directly affected by the stigma. I study how these individuals negotiate their identities in/through the space of the beach. I argue for the importance of places and contexts in theorizing masculinities.

Farida Naceur

Although rare, gender researches in Algeria showed the impact of societal developments on the evolution of feminine condition throughout the country. This research dealing with women in urban spaces tends to explore gender relations in Algerian cities through the effects of the recent urban policies and urban spaces improvement strategies. Based on an ethnographic method, combining observation and interviews, three types of urban spaces, significant of the recent urban redevelopment in Batna, an Eastern Algerian city, were subject of the investigation. The results of the research showed that the rehabilitation of urban public spaces and strategies implemented to animate street life in Batna city contributed to reestablish their attractiveness and consequently promoting their women’s use. Urban spaces became freely accessible, mixed but mainly more permissive, previously male-dominated, they are today easily conquered by women.

Camilo León-Quijano

This article analyzes the construction of gender and socio-spatial practices of women and men in Medellín (Colombia). By studying the ways in which the visual fieldwork was realized, this article has two purposes : firstly, it studies the gendered control of urban space through informal interactions (the transgressions of “civil inattention”, the modalization of women’s bodies and the gendered interactions in parks and transport). Secondly, it explores the use of photography as an investigative tool and the potentials of participatory visual methods in the analysis of gender in urban context.

David Sayagh

Teenage girls are significantly fewer than boys to not practice and not master basic urban bicycle skills. This can be partly explained by the fact that girls are generally very early socialized to avoid physical risk-taking and to invest in confined spaces. Then educated throw more supervised outings than boys, they are additionally rarely equipped with bicycles that facilitate turbulent practices. In parallel, they incorporate ways of thinking affecting their urban physical activities alternatives (capabilities) - particularly gendered in priority neighborhoods. Thus, although bicycle symbolizes for the most regular teenage practicing girls, an “access liberator” to the town, it represents a support of the public space male domination by body.

Marine Maurin

In public places, and especially during the night, homeless women are qualified as being in danger. Unlike homeless men, the public vulnerability of these women doesn’t concern only the cold or the “desocialization” but the risk of sexual assault. This recognition of sexual vulnerability in public places is problematic : are actions carried out by the homeless women completely guided by this vulnerability? This article suggests, from an inventory of the practices led by the homeless women, a discussion of this urban night-time experience.

Diana Helene

The article proposes to follow the history and current representations of the red light district Jardim Itatinga and the sex work’s organisation Mulheres Guerreiras, demonstrating how are organized different prostitutional territories in the city of Campinas, state of São Paulo, Brazil. The prostitutes’s circulation in different territories, the different roles, personal conducts and social behaviors in each location reveals a gendered urban organization linked to moral values and gender stigmas specific to women. This article highlights the rejection toward outskirts and urban segregation of prostitution, according to the complex relationship between this red light district, the city centre and the city as a whole.