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Orchestrer la présence des musiciens dans le métro parisien : les redéfinitions de l’indésirabilité

Abstract : Undesirability is a social and cultural construction that reveals asymmetrical power relations. The definition of individuals or groups as « undesirable » may change in time and in space, depending on the contexts of utterance and on the groups of specific definers. This paper analyzes how public space managers construct and redefine undesirability leaning on the case of the subway musicians in Paris. Relying on a field survey, consisting in interviews with RATP agents and subway musicians with an additional corpus of RATP documents, we analyze retrospectively in the medium term the managing policy of the Paris transport authority (RATP). We show how the RATP no longer regards its mission as a transport service provider but also as a public space manager. Thus it has gradually taken some of the subway musicians out of undesirability. Three stages can be identified. In the first one, musicians were defined as « undesirables » that should be evicted in the context of a reconquest policy. In the second stage, a licensing policy was created to do with actual musical practice in the subway and try to regulate it. In the third stage licensed musicians are no longer considered as « undesirables » unlike other groups (unlicensed musicians, homeless, beggars, informal vendors, etc.); they are even integrated in a more global commercial policy aiming at the valorization of the subway space as well as the company’s image.
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Contributor : Antoine Fleury <>
Submitted on : Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 7:13:11 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 12, 2021 - 4:52:04 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01681873, version 1


Muriel Froment-Meurice, Antoine Fleury. Orchestrer la présence des musiciens dans le métro parisien : les redéfinitions de l’indésirabilité. Géographie et cultures, L'Harmattan, 2016, 97-98, pp.113-134. ⟨halshs-01681873⟩



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