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Cosmopolis-BRIO Lunch Seminar: Clotilde Bonfiglioli (Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne)

10 June 2015 , 12.00-14.00h, VUB Department of Geography, 6F326

How can one feel a full-fledged inhabitant in the multilingual periphery of Brussels-Capital?

Keywords : Brussels-Capital, multilingual periphery, psycho-sociology of space, territorial appropriations, linguistic and territorial daily routines, cohabitations, intercommunity relations.

Being an inhabitant induces an ongoing process made of territorial practices, representations and cohabitations. The multilingual and multicultural suburbanization from Brussels causes feelings of marginalization among the native Dutch-speaking population. As a result, the Flemish authorities persuade the allophone newcomers to learn and speak Dutch and demand the exclusive use of the Dutch language in public space. Political conditioning and stereotypical conflicts result from this complex linguistic situation.

So, how can one feel an “inhabitant” of this divided territory? How can one feel being a part of his or her municipal space?

During this fellowship at the VUB, I undertook surveys among political stakeholders, public institutions and associations in the Vlaamse Rand, but the main part of my research regards the inhabitants of this territory. I am conducting semi-structured interviews with allophone families of different cultural belongings and linguistic backgrounds and I am also doing participative observations of their territorial habits. These initiatives will lead to models combining territorial choices with linguistic motivations, which determines individual and collective relations to municipal spaces, intercommunity relations, ideologies and territorial representations. Focused on a daily temporality, this work attempts to estimate if the language practices have an impact on the absence or presence of people in public space or the patterns of conscious and unconscious territorial avoidance.