The Struggles for the Right to the City Across Spatial Scales

Experiences from Grand Belleville in Paris

Quentin Ramond and Claudio Pulgar

Published in Issue 1.1 // Retrospectives

Keywords: Diffusion; space; scale; right to the city; Paris


This article examines the diffusion process of social movements, placing emphasis on their geographical dimensions. It focuses on the influence of the anti-austerity mobilization Nuit Debout on local urban collectives in Grand Belleville. Building on a three-year participant observation within the collective Droit à la Belle-Ville in which the authors are involved as activists, the article provides two results. First, it shows that diffusion is a context-dependent process. Anti-austerity mobilization had a particular resonance in Grand Belleville because of place-based political history and previously existing activist networks. Some collectives, such as Droit à la Belle-Ville, act as transmitters because they frame their action on both local and global scales. Second, practices and ideological frameworks move from global to local arenas according to the way local collectives re-contextualize them and define their scale of action. Overall, the study sheds new light on the aftermath of large anti-austerity mobilizations and enhances our knowledge of the contemporary local urban activism struggling for the right to the city.

Quentin Ramond is a PhD student in Sciences Po (Paris) and a member of Droit à la BelleVille.
Claudio Pulgar is a PhD student in EHESS (Paris) and a member of Droit à la BelleVille.

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