Calls > Session 1

1 – Territorial struggles and social representations

Co-facilitators: Laurent BEAUGUITTE (IDEES) & Marta SEVERO (Dicen IDF)

The territory, which has often been defined as a portion of space appropriated by a social group to satisfy its needs (Le Berre, 1995), can be an object of struggle between actors with divergent interests. The notion of territorial struggle refers to conflicts related to the use of a portion of space (Dechézelles & Olive, 2016). Each actor involved in a territorial struggle mobilizes images and texts that generate representations congruent with their objectives (Mauvaise troupe, 2016). This session will focus on the creation and features of these conflicting territorial representations.

Whether one considers the airport project at Notre-Dame des Landes, the nuclear waste disposal site at Bure, the Welzow open-pit mine or the Standing Rock pipelines, communication, in both its physical (banners, slogans, demonstrations, etc.) and digital forms, is one of the essential tools of the actors involved. The new online arenas of expression (social media, pure players, mailing lists...) enable opponents of a given project to emancipate themselves from traditional media and to spread their actions beyond militant circles at the local and international level.

The investigation of newspapers (Comby et al., 2010) and digital traces (websites, blogs, periscope, facebook pages, see Severo & Romele, 2015), as well as the physical aspects of mobilization, is likely to provide a rich vein of material for conducting longitudinal studies of the representations of territorial struggles generated by the interactions between actors. Yet this type of research raises both conceptual issues (how to take into account the diversity of expressions) and methodological concerns (delimitation and representativeness of the corpus, volume of data, type of analysis), especially when territorial struggles are still in progress.


Combes H., Garibay D., Goirand C. (dir.), 2016, Les lieux de la colère : occuper l'espace pour contester, de Madrid à Sanaa, Paris, Karthala.
Comby E., Le Lay Y. F., Merchez L., Tabarly S., 2010, « Visages médiatiques du barrage des Trois-Gorges : l'analyse statistique des données textuelles en géographie », Géoconfluences,
Dalibert M., Lamy A., Quemener N. (dir.), 2016, « Circulation et qualification des discours : conflictualités dans les espaces publics (1) », Études de communication, n° 47.
Dechézelles S., Olive M. (dir.), 2016, « Conflits de lieux, lieux de conflits »,Norois, pp. 238-239,
Le Berre M., 1995, « Territoires », in Bailly A., Ferras R., Pumain D. (dir.), Encyclopédie de géographie, Paris, Économica.
Mauvaise troupe, 2016, Contrées. Histoires croisées de la ZAD de Notre-Dame-des-Landes et de la lutte No TAV dans le Val Susa, Paris, éd. de l’éclat.
Mabi C., 2016, « ‪Luttes sociales et environnementales à l’épreuve du numérique : radicalité politique et circulation des discours », Études de communication, 47(2), pp. 111-130,
Severo M., Romele, A. (dir.), 2015, Traces numériques et territoiresI, Paris, Presses des Mines.

Expected types of paper

Theories, methodology, fieldwork, results.

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