Moral Economies, Urban Subjectivities, and Contested Policies

An Intersectional Perspective on Privileges and Exclusion

  • Karine Duplan University of Geneva
  • Marylène Lieber University of Geneva
  • Camille Schmoll EHESS, Paris
Keywords: Moral economies, urban subjectivities, public policies, intersectionality


This themed section focuses on the intersectional politics of the production of moral economies in urban contexts. It asks how public policies contribute to the moral normativities that affect how differently positioned actors live in urban space. Drawing on various empirical case studies, it questions public policies and their entanglements with processes of inclusion and exclusion in everyday urban life, along intersectional lines of gender, race, class and religion. Extending the work of Didier Fassin (2009, 1257), it assembles papers that explore a working definition of the moral economy as “the production, distribution, circulation, and use of moral sentiments, emotions and values, and norms and obligations in social space”. Three main salient axes are consequently addressed: violence and security issues; the framing of un/desirable subjects by public policies; the circulation and contextual appropriation of urban and gender policies in the context of globalisation. The contributions collected here analyse both how these spatial differences are produced through policies, and how differently embodied subjects experience, navigate, and contest the urban moral regimes to which they are subjected. This collection aims thereby at integrating an analysis that is aware of intersections of gender, class, sexuality, migratory backgrounds and race in the making of un/desirable subjects.


Abu-Lughod Lila 2013. Do Muslim women need saving?. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bacchi Carol L. 1999. Women, policy and politics: The construction of policy problems. London: Sage.

Belina, Bernd. 2003. “Evicting the undesirables. The idealism of public space and the materialism of the bourgeois State”. Belgeo 1: 47–62.

Bell David and Jon Binnie. 2000. The sexual citizen: Queer politics and beyond. Cambridge: Polity.

Blidon, Marianne. 2008. “Jalons pour une géographie des homosexualités”. L’espace géographique 37, no 2: 175–189.

Browne, Kath. 2006. “Challenging Queer Geographies”. Antipode 38, no 5: 885–893       

Cahill, Caitlin and Rachel Pain. 2019. “Representing Slow Violence and Resistance”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies. 18, no 5: 1054–1065.

Catungal, John Paul and Deborah Leslie. 2009. “Contesting the Creative City: Race, Nation, Multiculturalism”. Geoforum, 40, no 5: 701–704.

Crenshaw, Kimberley W. 1989. “Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: a black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics”. University of Chicago legal forum: 139–168

Farris, Sara R. 2017. In the name of women's rights: The rise of femonationalism. Durham: Duke University Press.

Fassin, Didier. 2009. “Les économies morales revisitées”. Annales. Histoire, Sciences sociales. 6: 1237–1266.

Giraud, Colin. 2014. Quartiers gays. Paris: PUF.

Hancock, Ange-Marie. 2016. Intersectionality: An Intellectual History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

hooks, bell. 1984. Feminist Theory. From margin to Center. Boston: South End Press.

Haritaworn, Jin. 2010. “Queer Injuries: The Racial Politics of 'Homophobic Hate Crime' in Germany”. Social Justice 37, no 1 (119): 69–89.

Haritaworn, Jin. 2015. Queer lovers and hateful others: Regenerating violent times and places. Chicago: Pluto Press.

Hubbard, Phil. 2000.  “Desire/disgust: mapping the moral contours of heterosexuality”. Progress in Human Geography 24, no 2: 191–217.

Huning, Sandra. 2014. “Deconstructing space and gender? Options for ‘gender planning’”, Les cahiers du CEDREF 21. URL :

Kern, Leslie. 2010. “Selling the ‘scary city’: gendering freedom, fear and condominium development in the neoliberal city”. Social & Cultural Geography 11, no 3: 209–230.

Kapur, Ratna. 2002. “The Tragedy of Victimization Rhetoric: Resurrecting the "Native" Subject in International/Post-Colonial Feminist Legal Politics”. Harvard human rights journal. 15: 1–38.

Kelly, Liz. 1987. “The Continuum of Sexual Violence.” In Women, Violence and Social Control, edited by Jalna Hanmer and Mary Maynard (eds). London: British Sociological Association, pp. 46–60.

Lieber, Marylène. 2008. Genre, violences et espaces publics : la vulnérabilité des femmes en question. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po.

Lamont, Michelle and Molnár Virág. 2002. “The study of boundaries in the social sciences”. Annual review of sociology 28, no 1: 167–195.

Lejeune, Catherine, Delphine Pagès-El Karoui, Camille Schmoll and Hélène Thiollet. 2021. Migration, Urbanity and Cosmopolitanism in a Globalized World. Imiscoe Research Series.

Massey, Doreen 1995. For Space. London: Sage

Mazouz, Sarah. 2020. Race. Paris: Anamosa.

McLean, Heather. 2014. “Digging into the creative city: A feminist critique”. Antipode 46: 669–690. 

Mitchell, Don and Staeheli Lynn A. 2006. “Clean and safe property redevelopments, public space and homelessness in downtown San Diego”. In The Politics of Public Space, edited by Setha Low and Neil Smith (eds.). London: Routledge, pp. 143-175.

Mollet, Sharlene and Caroline Faria. 2018. “The spatialities of intersectional thinking: fashioning feminist geographic futures”. Gender, place and culture 25, no 4: 565–577.

Parker, Brenda. 2008. “Beyond the Class Act: Gender and Race in the ‘Creative City’ Discourse”. Research in Urban Sociology. 9: 201–232.

Puar, Jasbir K. 2007. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham: Duke University Press.

Sainsbury, Diane and Christina Bergqvist. 2009. “The promise and pitfalls of gender mainstreaming: the Swedish case”. International Feminist Journal of Politics 11, no 2: 216–234.

Schmoll, Camille. 2020. Les damnées de la mer. Femmes et frontières en Méditerranée. Paris: La découverte.

Skeggs, Beverley. 1997. Formations of Class & Gender: Becoming Respectable. London: SAGE.

Spivak, Gayatri C. 1988. “Can the Subaltern Speak?”. In Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, edited by Cary Nelson & Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 271–313.

Tummers, Lidewij and Heidrun Wankiewicz. 2020. “Gender mainstreaming planning cultures: Why ‘engendering planning’ needs critical feminist theory”. GENDER–Zeitschrift für Geschlecht, Kultur und Gesellschaft 12, no 1: 7–8.

Valverde, Mariana. 2012. Everyday Law on the Street: City Governance in an Age of Diversity. University of Chicago Press.

Van den Berg, Marguerite. 2017. Gender in the Post-Fordist Urban. The gender revolution in planning and public policy. Springer.

Young, Iris M. 1990. Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
How to Cite
Duplan, K., Lieber, M., & Schmoll, C. (2021). Moral Economies, Urban Subjectivities, and Contested Policies. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 20(3), 222-230. Retrieved from