CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Informal and illegal housing as squats persist in cities despite the fact that the rights of private property are fundamental in France. For a long time legal sociologists have been very interested in the management and the regulation of such “illegalisms” by agents of the state. They show that public laws are applied and implemented differently, depending on the population they target. Nevertheless, in this paper, we address the Paris municipality's ability to govern “illegalisms” actively—and not merely to come to terms with it—to implement public policies and develop a strategy of action and planning. Elected representatives can act as mediators between squatters, the state, and owners in order to manage conflicts. Above all, governing the city means orienting behaviors, imposing choices, distributing resources and controlling occupations by building policy instruments and urban planning strategies. Finally, local representatives have to select and categorize the targets—recipients and victims.


  • governance
  • government
  • illegalisms
  • policy instruments
  • public policies
  • squats
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