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Des vies en veille : géographies abandonnées des acteurs quotidiens de la sécurité à Nairobi

Abstract : This PhD thesis aims at analysing the place within the city of everyday security actors in Nairobi, Kenya. I call them “veilleurs” (sentinels of the city), playing on the double meaning of the word in French : referring both to their professional activity (watching over the city) and their feeling of living a passive life (watching all day long can be considered as a non-action). The study focuses on two groups in particular : private security guards at the gate of residential compounds in the planned city, and youthgroups members in slum areas. Adopting an individual and everyday-centred approach, this work fits in with the recent renewal of security studies. For the last ten years, those have been advocating a closer attention to “micro” effects produced by security assemblages, especially on subjectivities, affects, bodies, and everyday routines. The city of Nairobi displays a double feature that sheds new light on the sensitive question of the veilleurs. First, its urban fragmentation appears as particularly iconic in terms of imaginaries. Second, Nairobi can be qualified as an “anxious city” in light of the recent political violence (2007-2008) and the emerging terrorist threat. This study is based on both an ethnographic approach and a creative methodology using poetry as a way to free the speech of my interlocutors. It seeks to analyse the place of the veilleurs through three layered readings: their ambiguous political condition (being “on the line” between familiarity and otherness: neither inside nor outside the community they are supposed to watch over), the uncertain everyday life resulting from this condition, and the diverse imaginaries they produce to make sense of it. These three layers allow me to develop both a spatial and social reading of the key concepts of abandonment, lives on hold, and complex place to better understand this particular category of urban workers.
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Jean-Baptiste Lanne. Des vies en veille : géographies abandonnées des acteurs quotidiens de la sécurité à Nairobi. Géographie. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018BOR30050⟩. ⟨tel-02117104⟩



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