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Pushed to the Margins of the City: The Urban Night as a Timespace of Protest at Nuit Debout, Paris

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Robert Shaw



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Geographers studying protest movements have brought attention to the social and spatial contexts in which political action is constituted. As the legal right to protest has become more and more restricted in many Western, activists have had to seek new times and spaces for protest, with protest camps having risen alongside the anti-austerity movement since 2011. The ongoing Nuit Debout protests in Paris have turned explicitly to night, drawing on experience of previous protests to colonise this timespace on a recurring basis, laying to claim to the night as a moment for protest. This paper therefore uses the case of Nuit Debout to consider more widely how night shapes (urban) protest movements. I argue that the move to the night might be seen as an attempt to find a timespace in which a more open and creative politics is possible, strategically responding to the reduction in the freedom to protest in the more heavily surveyed day. I explore how the specific characteristics of night have both facilitated innovation at Nuit Debout and other sites, but also the restrictions that night has brought. More broadly, this helps us understand the changing dynamics of urban spaces and rhythms as night-time activity intensifies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shaw Robert

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Political Geography

Year: 2017

Volume: 59

Pages: 117-125

Print publication date: 01/07/2017

Online publication date: 30/05/2017

Acceptance date: 16/05/2017

Date deposited: 17/05/2017

ISSN (print): 0962-6298

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5096

Publisher: Pergamon Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.05.006


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