MILLIOT Virginie

Regional fields

Europe, France

Thematic fields

urban anthropology, anthropology of art, globalisation, immigration


city, urban cultures, recognition policies, urban art, public space, urban socialisation and pluralism, institutionalisation, globalisation

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The “Marche décoloniale” (De-Colonial March)
organised by the Indigènes de la République,
8 mai 2008 (photo V. Milliot)

Virginie Milliot’s research deals with processes of social and cultural emergence, of which cities are the crucible, as well as with policies of recognition and institutionalisation, of which these dynamics are the subjet.

She is the author of a doctoral thesis on the “indigenisation” of hip hop in France. This research analyses the reclaiming and reinterpretation of this symbolic form in the context of working-class suburbs and the effects of the recognition policy implemented by municipal political actors in the 1990s. She shows the links that exist between the popular culture of the fragile lives of the young people in these neighbourhoods and the artistic conventions of street hip-hop. Then she analyses the development of this movement within urban networks and the transformation of these forms of expression from the street to the stage.

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The ragmen’s market, Porte Montmartre, 2009
(photo V. Milliot)

Virginie Milliot has continued to analyse the links between the rules of art and the art of living, as well as the effects of so-called “integration through culture” policies by means of several lines of research: on the conflicts pitting local associations against cultural institutions, relating to the definition of cultural policy in Vaulx-en-Velin, on Art sur la place and the Défilé at the Biennale of Dance in Lyon.
 Since 2006 she has been developing research on public space conflicts in Paris. She completed a study on public life in the Goutte d’Or quarter, and since 2009 has been conducting ethnographic research on poverty markets and the “Carré des biffins” (“Ragmen’s Square”) at Porte Montmartre. These research projects provided a chance to examine the impact of weak ties on urban socialisation, the dynamics of the construction of the public, and mobilisation from the street. Her approach is inseparable from a methodological and epistemological examination (especially in the context of her courses at the University of Paris West) of urban anthropology and the coming of the “endotic”.

Virginie Milliot was a member of the 20th section of the CNU from 2004 to 2007, and director of the Department of Ethnology, Prehistory and Ethnomusicology at the University of Paris West Nanterre La Défense from 2009 to May 2012.

Principal publications

  • 2015 (with E. Guitard), Les gestes politiques du propre et du sale en ville. Introduction générale, Ethnologie française, 45 (3) [special issue: Propreté. Saleté. Urbanité].
  • 2015, Remettre de l’ordre dans la rue. Politiques de l’espace public à la Goutte-d’Or (Paris), Ethnologie française, 45 (3) [special issue: Propreté. Saleté. Urbanité].
  • 2015, Avec les biffins? Engagements ethnographiques en cascades, in GIS Démocratie et Participation, Actes du Colloque “Chercheur.e.s et acteur.e.s de la participation: Liaisons dangereuses et relations fructueuses”, Saint-Denis, 29-30 janvier 2015, http://www.participation-et-democratie.fr/fr/node/1809.
  • 2013, Indignations et mobilisations autour des marchés de la pauvreté à Paris, Annales de la recherche urbaine, 108 (october): 117-127.
  • 2013 (with Stéphane Tonnelat), Contentious policing in Paris: The street as space for emotional public solidarity, in R. K. Lippert and K. Walby (eds), Policing cities: Urban securization and regulation in a 21e Century World (Hoboken, Taylor and Francis): 191-204.
  • 2013, Pluralist ambiance and urban socialisation: ethnography of the public space in the Goutte d’ or neighbourhood of Paris, Ambiances. International Journal of Sensory Environment, Architecture and Urban Space / Revue Internationale sur l’Environnement Sensible, l’Architecture et l’Espace Urbain, 1 http://ambiances.revues.org/223 [french version «Ambiance pluraliste et socialisation urbaine: ethnographie de l’espace public du quartier de la Goutte d’or à Paris» http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00833997].
  • 2008, La résistance du défi, in M.-O. Gonseth, Y. Laville and G. Mayor (eds), La marque jeune (Neuchâtel, musée d’ethnographie): 166–173 [HAL].
  • 2006, The French touch. Le hip hop au filtre de l’universalisme républicain, Anthropologie et société, 30 (2): 175–197 [on line].
  • 2005, Les courts-circuits de l’action culturelle, in A. Bruston (ed.), Des cultures et des villes, mémoires au futur (La Tour d’Aigues, Éditions de l’Aube): 237–256 [HAL].
  • 2000, Culture, cultures et redéfinition de l’espace commun. Approche anthropologique des déclinaisons contemporaines de l’action culturelle, in J. Métral (ed.), Cultures en ville, ou de l’art et du citadin (Paris, Éditions de l’Aube): 143–168 [HAL].
  • 1997, Ethnographie d’une mauvaise vague. Une question de regard, in J. Métral (ed.), Les aléas du lien social. Constructions identitaires et culturelles dans la ville (Paris, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication): 15–29 [HAL].

Publications available at the Éric-de-Dampierre library


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Mis à jour le 23 July 2015

Maître de conférences, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Département d’ethnologie, de préhistoire et d’ethnomusicologie
[Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer]