Geographers and urban policy and planning in France (1960-1992) : willing to contribute ?

Matthieu PICHON (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne / Géographie-cités) will present his thesis: Geographers and urban policy and planning in France (1960-1992) : willing to contribute ? under the supervision of Olivier ORAIN

April 15th
Maison des sciences économiques
Paris (13th)


This thesis investigates the social history of the relations between the French academic field of geography and urban policy and planning between the 1960s and the 1990s. We analyse the evolution of urban research in geography in relation to the objectives and guidelines of urban planning; the appropriation and framing of an “urban issue” — both scientific and political — by French geographers in the 1960s; and the actual interaction between French geographers and the academic and professional fields of urban planning. The main objective is to assess how and to what extent external standards, concerns and agendas contribute to shaping academic practices. This thesis mostly relies on archival work and mobilises a range of quantitative methods like Natural Language Processing, multivariate statistics, etc.
French geographers encounter with the “urban issue” led them to undertake a series of changes. They showed themselves available and willing to contribute to addressing this issue, both in terms of their scientific achievements and their adaptation to urban planning employment market. As a result, geographers found themselves in competition with other specialists and experts, which led them to devise professional and discursive strategies aimed at securing their place in the urban planning arena.

L'évolution des thématiques repérées dans un corpus de 1700 articles publiés entre 1960 et 2000 dans 11 revues de géographie françaises