Grenoble TTT meetings

The First TTT Symposium in 2007 showed how territorial issues are constantly being renewed as well as how important it is to place them in the context of new controversies concerning collective action, the inadequacy of underlying theories, ways of moving beyond outdated dichotomies, and democratic renewal.

The Second TTT Symposium in 2010 focussed on territories as operators of change. Among the subjects discussed were the predominance of individuals, the paths they follow and the strains caused by the instability of their territorial choices. The Symposium also reviewed and confronted ideas such as the overwhelming need to be embedded in a territory, to take heritage and inheritance properly into account, and the duty to protect them. Such strains renew the relationship between individuals and politics, which had long been taken for granted by territorial science.

The upcoming Third Symposium will continue its investigations into the territory / territorialisation / territoriality trio by testing the notion of hybrids.

The Symposium’s subject matter

Social time and living and mobility territories are tending to break up. Statuses are changing, while scales and frontiers are becoming less clear-cut. The advent of ICT is tending to blur the relationships between space and time, here and elsewhere, real and virtual, individuals and communities. Institutional unity of time, place and action is steadily fading, and new combinations are becoming necessary. The “big-bang” of organisations and territories is leading to new structures and the need for alternative blending, alliances and coalitions.

Cross-cultural mixing, multiple belonging, and the hybridisation of space, time and behaviour patterns are becoming common features of today’s world. Individuals are becoming “polytopical”, and newly-emerging places are defining heterotopias imagined in distinctive ways. The frontiers between work time and leisure time are becoming less perceptible. Rather than exercising a single profession, people now have “portfolios of activities”. Travelling time can sometimes also be work time, and vice versa. A flat may become a hotel, a town a tourist resort, and a resort become urbanised. Holiday homes are becoming more like primary places of residence. Camping grounds are lived in throughout the year, while for a few hours certain museums can be turned into libraries. In Paris in summer, the road along the River Seine‘s embankments is fitted out as a beach, while in winter the large square in front of the city hall is transformed into an ice-skating rink. In marginal areas, the places left behind by the postmodern city are being taken over by the excluded, who expose the falsehood of the “non-places” hypothesis. Confronted with the functionality and barren specialisation of places and times, “third places” and “third times” are emerging and reinventing the very function of territories as places for maximising interactions, as crossroads for coming together and mingling: cafés are transformed into libraries, laundrettes recast as cafés, nurseries bring together business people and artists, rooftops are made into gardens, eco-museums or residential theme parks and so on. City nights can become days or “non-days”. The status of individuals in motion has become blurred in respect of their nationalities, identities, functions and memberships. The distinction between human and animal is wavering to the extent that the latter are now said to have “rights”. The artificial devices helping us to live are invading our bodies and conjuring up the spectre of the cyborg. With ICT everywhere, objects constantly updating their whereabouts in time and space are becoming hybrid products and services, chimerical combinations of stable and unstable elements. New, multi-scalar territorial coalitions are invented at and between frontiers. Hybrid territories are emerging out of inter-territorial public policies able to combine several sustainable development objectives while responding to hitherto-independent collective needs.

In such a complex society there is a trend towards alliances, collaboration and sharing (cooperation, co-design, co-development, flat-sharing, car-sharing, as well as inter- et trans-disciplinarity) giving rise to new methods, objects, identities and ways of doing things. It is in this sense that new cross-cultural stances are becoming essential.

Territory is at the core of such reconstruction and hybridisation, which call upon the tangible and the transient. New patterns are emerging, new scenes and new modes of cooperation appearing on a range of scales and in accordance with composite modes. The response to the issues at stake is for crossovers to occur and hybridisations to be made possible. Artists are imagining themselves as town planners, while town planners are calling on sensitivity and creativity. Cities are going back to the wild, and the wilderness becoming urbanised. There are new questions being asked about territories, organisations, customs, individuals and groups. Complex situations, overlapping scales and a multitude of actors are requiring us to change our outlooks so as to respond to the challenges, imagine et build together the lifestyles and shapes of tomorrow’s society within and through new territories.

The mutations so profoundly changing our habitual behaviours are encouraging us to imagine alternative forms of collective intelligence in order to observe and understand them, to analyse emerging societal and territorial hybrids and to build up new forms of collaboration in research and in the construction of territories. We believe that the paths of hybridisation at the frontier between research, territorial and other sciences and professional practices are open and fruitful.

Hybridisation, blending, mixing, mingling, inter-relating: how should the composite be spoken of and analysed? How significant is it in scientific thought and practice? In the field of territorial science (geography, urban studies, planning, history, architecture, anthropology and a number of other social sciences), the concept’s emergence shows how necessary it is to reflect on the links, relationships and imbrications between scientific objects such as territory, networks, inter-territoriality, interposition, etc. It also allows such objects to be studied anew, along with the methods and principles for classifying them.

An interdisciplinary approach to territorial science requires such a multifaceted concept to be appropriated, its epistemological consequences considered, approaches compared, the ways hybrid objects are put together examined, their interest measured, and their pertinence debated.

What is a hybrid? What hybridisations are at work? What is meant by hybridity? To what extent can the idea be of interest to territorial science? How can it be taken up?

These are some of the questions to be discussed during the Symposium on the basis of the papers submitted and the talks given by eminent specialists from different disciplines and spheres, including Alain Berthoz, Dan Breztnitz, Sandra Bonfiglioli, Augustin Berque, Yann Kersalé, Angelo Turco, Chris Younes, Theodore Zeldin and others.


Laboratoire Pacte
Cité des territoires
14 bis, Avenue Marie Reynoard
38100 Grenoble – France
secrétariat : 04 76 82 20 20




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