Légitimités citadines et pratiques foncières à Douala

Abstract : Studying processes of legitimations by city dwellers in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital, with the prism of land invites to an analysis of the discourses and practices of the inhabitants in order to negotiate their place in the city – more or less durably, with regard to a plurality of actors. Taking into account the authoritarian situation in Cameroon and a strong rural-urban dichotomy within common representations, the citadinité (“is cityness”) in Douala nothing short of a hassle and can be questioned in some cases. To be in Douala and to be from Douala are not the same and this is translated by the recognition - or not - of a legitimacy to occupy space, according to parameters of identity and social practices. The confrontation between three districts - Bonabéri, New-Bell, Akwa - gave us three different viewpoints on city-dwellers' legitimacies.Various legitimizing aspects are questioned, including the importance of taking into account the identity dimension. In this context, analyzing the importance of autochthony in city-dwellers’ representations and translating it spatially shows how, even though this register of (de)legitimation is saturating, room of manoeuvre exists in particular because of this autochthony notion’s fuzzy definition. The relation with official standards is also questioned, considering the ability to play, negotiate, and circumvent them in a context where there are huge discrepancies between official standards and actual land practices. The study of an eviction that occurred in 2014, however, shows the limits of the strategies of the inhabitants, revealing a conflict of norms. The dwellers' answers through the material and social production of the urban space, in a marshy and/or floodable context and faced with the lack of solutions proposed by the State, give rise to an interpellation of the latter.
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Carole Bignon. Légitimités citadines et pratiques foncières à Douala. Géographie. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018USPCC024⟩. ⟨tel-02280082⟩

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