Redressing AbandonmentSocial Projects and Imagined Futures in Marseille

Marseille combines deep inequalities and poverty with a long history of social initiatives and mutual aid. This project studies projects that address urgent social needs and inequities, asking what future visions they offer in a critical political moment.

Marseille has the poorest neighborhoods and largest inequalities in France, and a long history of conservative government. In part because of that combination, thriving social and solidary initiatives have emerged to address urgent needs and deep inequalities. Many of these initiatives seek to reconnect abondoned areas and populations to the state, prodding it to care for those it has left behind. With its long history of social mobilisation, and under recent left-wing political leadership, Marseille provides insights into new collective arrangements and possible political futures. 

This project zooms in on social initiatives developed in close cooperation with the municipality or region, and those conceived without or despite them. We ask how these projects imagine and craft new sociopolitical worlds in practice. What role do they see for citizen initiatives, for associations, and for state actors? How do they reshape relations between the state and abandoned sections of the population? And how do they work to overcome social inequalities and imagine collectivity and solidarity anew?  

These insights contribute to our overarching project, which compares the sociopolitical worlds foreshadowed in similar initiatives in Amsterdam, Thessaloniki and London. What do these initiatives tell us about the future of welfare in Europe in a critical moment?