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HomeHistories and Neighborhoods: methods, narratives, actors

Histories and Neighborhoods: methods, narratives, actors

Histoires et quartiers. Méthodes, narrations, acteurs

Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère, n°15

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Published on Friday, January 14, 2022


This issue on “Histories and neighborhoods” develops along the lines of two approaches: methodological and epistemological aspects, as well as research strategies, and the construction and uses of narratives with actors in specific urban contexts. It is interested in the ways in which these questions are addressed in different political contexts and scientific milieux.



  • Gaia Caramellino,
  • Filippo De Pieri,
  • Yankel Fijalkow


In recent years, the history of neighborhoods has attracted a renewed interest with regard to urban policy investigations and their qualitative objectives, thus experiencing a return to human scale, to proximity,  and to the “15-minute city.” 

A resurgence of historical engagement is occurring from various directions and within different domains, such as habitat and housing, neighborhood facilities, employment, mobility, and neighbor relations. The canonical narrative of ‘Man and Monument’  is no longer the only reference point, but rather the aim is to bring the history of architecture and cities into dialogue with the social sciences. These new perspectives question a plurality of scales (local, national, transnational, global) by seeing neighborhoods as places where construction practices and spatial representation intersect at different levels. 

This issue on “Histories and neighborhoods” develops along the lines of two approaches: methodological and epistemological aspects, as well as research strategies (1), and the construction and uses of narratives with actors in specific urban contexts (2). It is interested in the ways in which these questions are addressed in different political contexts and scientific milieux.

  1. Over the past ten years, in the fields of urban history, architecture and landscape, and in urban sectors more specifically, we have witnessed attempts at interdisciplinary hybridization between research practices, methodologies and tools that come from different disciplinary backgrounds: archival research, ethnography, history written by public institutions, oral history, and field observations.

These methodological dialogues go beyond cleavages between quantitative and qualitative research, subjective or objective observation, micro and macro-history,  or architectural typology and uses of space.

Indeed, these research approaches make it possible to develop interplays of scale, from the micro to the macro, from a domestic setting to the territory, and from everyday actors to structural, institutional or even political actors.  Which research strategies are at work? What types of narratives do they produce? How does opening up to the field of representations and identities of local groups integrate social interactions into the analysis of spatial and structural logics? In addition to interview excerpts, as well as graphic, audible and pictorial documents, what types of materials are used? Finally, to what extent is architectural, urban and landscape research well positioned to develop new forms of methodological hybridization? 

These approaches also lead to different cross-referencing of research topics, and to multiple definitions of the notion of “neighborhood,” the implications of which will be explored in this issue.

  1. Neighborhood histories can also be perceived as the result of a negotiation in which historians find themselves coproducing interpretations within the framework of a dialogue with narratives developed on different stages, particularly political ones, and carried out by actors with varied objectives and forms of communication.

The issue seeks to question the positioning of research as it faces an abundance of diachronic narratives already layered on neighborhoods, part of which do not circulate in academic literature, but rather through forms of oral or written transmission conveyed by political, administrative, professional, associative, and resident networks, etc.  We will also focus on the “demand for history”, from the part of planners and other social groups, and on the need to develop historical accounts capable of addressing the questions about the transformation of space, but also on the risk of producing timeless, fictitious or “presentist” spaces. 

From this perspective, we can question historical research integrating a participatory research methodology and assembling non-academic forms of narration and representation.  This will raise questions relating to the coordination of narratives and memories, the contribution of testimonies to the archive and, more broadly, the layering of narratives. In this framework, and in the face of memorial and heritage groups and their tools, the contribution of the architect, urban planner or landscape architect could be approached in the production of a common or consolidated history, or even of history as a common good, simultaneously capable of integrating a plurality of perspectives, even potentially conflicting ones. 

Without revisiting debates on the notion of neighborhood, already thoroughly addressed in the social sciences,  and without seeking to establish a universal definition, one could question the way in which historiography takes hold of this notion. As such, the diversity of case studies will make it possible to understand how the historical narrative captures the scales of the “neighborhood” in different contexts.

Expected articles are open to all historical periods. They may address issues raised by different long-term perspectives and neighborhood biographies; the history of projects and uses; the use of microhistory, of typo-morphology in relation to the transformations of framework and daily practices, the stratification of actors’ narratives or, conversely, the epistemological significance of a single narrative, or of conflicting ones.

Procedure for the transmission of draft articles

Completed article proposals should be sent by email to the Editorial Secretariat of Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère to secretariat-craup@culture.gouv.fr

before April 10, 2022

For more information, contact Aude Clavel at 06 10 55 11 36

Expected Formats : articles or “research materials”

Articles, whether in French or in English, must not exceed 50,000 characters, including spaces, bibliography and notes.

Articles must be accompanied by :

  • 1 biobibliographical record between 5 to 10 lines (name and first name of the author (s), professional status and/or titles, possible institutional link, research themes, latest publications, e-mail address).
  • 2 abstracts in French and English.
  • 5 key words in French and English.

The title must appear in both English and French

A call for papers is broadcasted for each thematic heading. Proposals may be in French or English. The evaluation is peer-rewiewed.

Instructions to authors

Editorial line

Placed in the fields of architectural, urban and landscape research, the Cahiers initially developed from the 1970s in research labs of the French schools of architecture. On becoming an online international journal, the Cahiers initiates today a new formula targeted towards the research communities concerned by intentional transformations of space, whatever the scales.

The Cahiers aims at meeting current interests and issues in these fields, seeking to renew them and to open new directions of research. Three main research issues are more directly questioned. One specifically concerns theoretical aspects, in order to develop exchanges and discussions between theories of design, planning, architecture and landscape. Another issue refers to the materiality of the city, the technical know-how involved in spatial transformation, but also the material dimension of of transfer and mobilization phenomena, often analyzed in other journals from a-spatial angles. Lastly, the third issue questions the project and its design, which holds a special place in the sciences and the practice of space (performative roles of projects, theories of practice).

These three poles call for interdisciplinary works, dedicated to trace in-depth explanations of the transformations of the built environment at the Anthropocene Era. The expected scientific production refers to common criteria of peer reviewing processes. It could pay a particular attention to the issues of pictures and visual production in a field where images can serve as discourse.

Editorial Board

Chief Editor : Frédéric Pousin

Editorial Assistant : Aude Clavel

  • Manuel Bello Marcano
  • Franck Besançon
  • Gauthier Bolle
  • Gaia Caramellino
  • Enrico Chapel
  • Benjamin Chavardes
  • Audrey Courbebaisse
  • Laurent Devisme
  • Anat Falbel
  • Yankel Fijalkow
  • Sandra Fiori
  • Ralph Ghoche
  • Xavier Guillot
  • Caroline Maniaque
  • Valérie Nègre
  • Paola Savoldi
  • Hélène Vacher

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


  • Sunday, April 10, 2022


  • quartier, histoire


  • Aude Clavel
    courriel : craup [dot] secretariat [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Aude Clavel
    courriel : craup [dot] secretariat [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Histories and Neighborhoods: methods, narratives, actors », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, January 14, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/181g

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