SEMINAIRE : « Migrations et Multiculturalisme “Cities and Social Movements: Immigrant Rights Activism in the US and France” » — Mercredi 20 juin 2018, 12h30-14h30, Sciences Po, Paris

  • Séminaire conjoint organisé par Sciences Po, CEE, Université de Lille, CERAPS et le projet EODIPA. Cette séance fait partie d’un cycle consacré cette année aux expériences du racisme,aux mobilisations et à la lutte contre les discriminations.
  • Lieu : Sciences Po, Room 931, 9, rue de la Chaise, 75007 Paris
  • Plus d’infos sur le séminaire

This presentation examines how cities enable undocumented immigrant mobilizations. Cities nurture complex relations that permit precarious immigrants to acquire the resources needed to give voice in a hostile political environment. Cities are also managed by governments that seek to coopt, channel and contain disruptive political actors. The trajectory of any given mobilization therefore depends on the interplay of urban networks and governmental controls. The presentation illustrates these theoretical points through a comparison of immigrant mobilizations in Los Angeles and Paris. Undocumented immigrant mobilizations emerged and took root in both cities in the 1970s but they took sharply different trajectories. Los Angeles developed into a major hub of activism and led the country’s national immigrant rights movement in the 2000s. Paris was a center of deeply fractured activism. The presentation explains the divergent trajectories by highlighting different strategies of governmental control. The weakening of state controls in Los Angeles permitted the flowering of network interdependencies among activists while the expansion of state controls over immigrant civil society in Paris fractured the local activist networks.


Walter J. Nicholls is Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine. His research addresses the governance of unequal cities, urban social movements, and immigrant rights activism. His recent books include, The DREAMers: How the Undocumented Youth Movement Transformed the Immigrant Rights Debate (2013, Stanford University Press) and Cities and Social Movements: Immigrant Rights Activism in the United States, France, and the Netherlands, 1970-2015 (co-authored with Justus Uitermark) (2017, Wiley-Blackwell).


  • Virginie Guiraudon is CNRS Research Director at the Sciences Po Center for European Studies and Comparative Politics.
  • Sarah Mazouz is CNRS Research Fellow at the the Center for European Research on Administration, Politics and Society (CERAPS) in Lille.