The theme of the next issue of the magazine FACES concerns a notion with sociological connotations: the vicinity. Coming back to the Old English meaning of « nearness in place », this notion makes us reflect on the scale of the common (or on the stable spatial figures that allow us to think of living together) — putting back into play other notions such as the neighbourhood, the city etc. The vicinity wishes to bring a plural and multi-scalar approach of the city. The urbanism of the XIXth and XXth century has been defined by planning from above (the plan) and via geography (relief maps, urban models). It instaures an order that we could deem « cold », made out of systems of space thought according to principles of good succession and hierarchy. However, this issue of FACES will focus on the « warm » and « dispersive » dimensions of living together, based on interactions, frictions, ambiguity of limits, blurring of boundaries, diversity, « moments of resistance ». A right to the city made out of inhabitant appropriations and the reinvention of ways to live together, asking at the same time questions on hospitality and dwelling, of difference and communality.
This new approach on the meaning of vicinity implies a necessary change of paradigm, that goes beyond the idea that in order to « guarantee » (Breviglieri) a good city, it is sufficient to calculate flows, to insure functional and efficient access to services, or to set up « qualitative » living environments that answer to the needs of the inhabitants. So many elements of a notional positivistic arsenal, tied to the manufacturing of our lives and desires imposed by an emotional kind of late capitalism, that we perhaps inherit from as far back as the behaviourist theories and ideas of the 1960s. In the urban sociology texts of the 1930s, in Chicago, the question of neighbourhoods, the idea of the city, is an attention given to the experience of the migrant, the place given to the foreign, the complex relations between anonymity and familiarity, and the tensions they give birth to, as well as to the media, technical and architectural devices that allow us to live together and to make society. The sociology of urban struggles, that has contributed to the foundation of Henry Lefebvre’s work, moves the gaze towards collective mobilisations. Jane Jacobs, amongst others, began studying the city from the perspective of the dynamics of proximity, allowing us to think of urbanism from the standpoint of its political effects, and the power of emancipation and oppression it exerts everyday on its inhabitants. Either way, the gaze is less on the scrupulous creation of programs and good forms than on the processes and mediations, the immersions and the room for manoeuvre. This issue of FACES wants to show how the focus on a variety of programs and sizes — which only perpetuates the domination of the sight when it comes to thinking about diversity — is insufficient to define the thick matter of coexistances. New meanings must be found that thicken space and limits ; that return to the guattaro-deleuziean dialectic of the smooth and the striated ; that exhume the invu au Merleau-Ponty, preceding the perceived and awaiting meaning.
The tools needed to think the scale of the lived and of experience seem to us closer to anthropology and sociology. There is no collective space without an adjustment of coexistances that passes through languages and rituals, rules and familiarities, but also thresholds and objects where the fragile and difficulty coded forms of vicinity are made. Therefore, the space of vicinity might perhaps be a place of a possible that escapes all planning. How are we to think it?
Luca Pattaroni, guest editor.
The call for papers that FACES magazine launches for its 80th issue will take place as follows:
- June 30th, 2021: submission of paper abstracts (maximum 5 000 characters), as well as a short biography of the author (500 characters) ;
- July 15th, 2021: the scientific committee announces the selection results ;
- September 1st, 2021: full paper submission (maximum 25,000 characters, notes excluded). We do not guarantee the publication of all the articles that have been requested. They will first have to pass a peer-review process. Authors will receive a response within 15 days. Please note that at this stage both the editorial and the scientific committees can and frequently request rewrites with short deadlines. Please also note that the article will be published in French. If the selected article is written in English, FACES is in charge of the necessary professional translation and proofing services. Sometimes, the editorial committee may decide that some articles are also to be published in the English section of the magazine. This decision belongs solely to the FACES team.
- November 30th, 2021: publication of selected articles.
All proposals can be sent in either French or English at info[at]facesmagazine[dot]ch.