Communication aux rencontres de l’Association des géographes américains

Le 24 février prochain Tristan Bruslé participera, dans le cadre de Terrferme, aux rencontres annuelles de l’Association of American Geographers 2012, qui se tiennent cette année à New York. Il interviendra dans le panel Disqualified places: practices and representations, avec une conférence intitulée Rejected by society, despised by their inhabitants: industrial areas, labour camps and the making of otherness. Examples from Qatar, dont voici le résumé :

The economies of the Gulf Countries Council rely predominantly on foreign manpower, a large part of which is made up of unqualified migrant workers from South Asia. In order to house millions of these workers, who represent as much as 80 per cent of the total population, the labour camp model was chosen. Built purely for their functional qualities, labour camps offer basic facilities and dormitories for men who are ferried to work and back every day by bus. In Qatar this form of accommodation, which was directly inherited from racial segregation policies implemented by American oil companies (Vitalis), is now widespread. Labour camps are built well away from towns, on industrial areas along with workshops, warehouses and factories. For mainstream Qatari society, industrial areas represent “other spaces”. Culturally constructed images of these areas match the promoted image of the South Asian bachelor as a threat to society. Just as the fate of workers is of practically no concern to the authorities, so too are these industrial areas with their clouds of dust, their pollution and lack of maintenance. Migrants cannot help disliking their living places and these spaces are rejected by all sectors of society, though not for the same reasons. In a context where the right to mobility is reduced to a strict minimum, migrants’ practiced and lived territories focus on their room and their camp. Although workers may live in these places for years, industrial areas are not appropriated in that they are definitely not part of the migrant’s layer of belonging. Desolate landscapes and a feeling of rejection create a form of territorial stigmatization that is forgotten once migrants return home.

Crédits photographiques: Tristan Bruslé

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