Sovereignty beyond the state: exception and informality in a Western European city

Picker, G. (2019) Sovereignty beyond the state: exception and informality in a Western European city. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, (doi:10.1111/1468-2427.12704) (Early Online Publication)

Picker, G. (2019) Sovereignty beyond the state: exception and informality in a Western European city. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, (doi:10.1111/1468-2427.12704) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

This article bridges debates on urban sovereignty and debates on urban informality, to argue that the relationships between sovereignty and informality may not exclusively lie in the way the sovereign state decides to allow or not informality, but in the ways sovereignty is distributed among a range of state and non-state actors. Drawing on fieldwork on the early 2010s management of displaced Romanian Romani families in two emergency camps in the city of Montreuil (France), the article shows how the NGO responsible for managing one camp acted as sovereign power over that camp, allowing a number of informal activities thrived inside the camp. By contrast, inside the other camp, which was managed by another NGO that smoothly implemented state directives, only formal activities were taking place. Building on Dean’s (2010) concept of “disaggregated sovereignty”, the article mobilizes this disjuncture as a case for critically examining the ways the “state of exception” takes shape beyond the state’s grip. A subtext running throughout is the parallel between the first camps for civilians in 19th-century colonized territories, and 21st-century camps for Roma in Europe - both types of camps elicited a state of exception which was partially predicated on camp dwellers’ perceived ethnic/racial homogeneity.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska‐Curie grant agreement no. 661646.
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Picker, Dr Giovanni
Authors: Picker, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0309-1317
ISSN (Online):1468-2427
Published Online:29 January 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Urban Research Publications Limited
First Published:First published in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 2019
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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