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Nicholas BLOMLEY

By 11 janvier 2024février 1st, 2024Professeur·es invité·es 2024

Avril 2024

4 séminaires

As an invited professor, I will be giving four lectures which will enable me to develop different aspects of the research I have been carrying out for some thirty years at the intersection between law and geography.

23 avril 2024 : Legal geographies of property

14h-16h | Salle Marcel Roncayolo | 48 Boulevard Jourdan

To understand the crucial work of property in land in enforcing and sustaining relationships of power between people, it is necessary to analyse the particular manner in which property became territorialized. As an ‘interaction device’, territory helped reconstitute changing property relations. While drawing from previous geographies of property, these practices placed an increased importance upon a territorial exclusivity that centred on individual rights, most particularly the right of the individual to exclude others. As such, the legal and practical defence of territory became of more pressing importance. This shift relied on and helped sustain a particular logic of visualization and spatialization, I shall suggest. Increasingly, property became disentangled from a localized nexus of collectively organized relations, and became situated within wider networks of calculation and commodification. The geographies of property forged in the past continue to be important to contemporary life, framing power relations in particular ways. As such, they demand our attention.

25 avril 2024 : ‘Anywhere but here’: the mobile regulation of homeless people’s belongings.

10h-12h | Salle Dussane | 45 rue d’Ulm

Drawing from current research, this lecture documents the circulating effects of the legal geographies of homelessness law in Canadian cities. Centring the belongings of homeless people, the research documents the impossibility of a legal regime that governs all the spaces that homeless people can be, creating forms of enforced circulation that ask people to be ‘anywhere but here’. 

30 avril 2024: Territory, new trajectories in law

13h-14h | Salle Rebérioux | 48 Boulevard Jourdan

Territories can be found in all societies and at all scales, although they take different forms. The concern here is on the use of territories in organizing legal relations. Law, as a form of power, often works through a variety of territorial strategies, serving multiple legal functions, such as attempts at creating forms of desired behaviour. Landed property, in Western society, is often highly territorial, reliant on sharply policed borders and spatial exclusion. But rather than thinking of territory as obvious and given or as a natural phenomenon, this lecture focuses particularly on its relation to property to argue that territory is both a social product, and a specific technology that organizes social relations. That is: territory is not simply an outcome of property relations but a strategic means by which such relations are communicated, imagined, legitimized, enforced, naturalized and contested.

2 mai 2024: Getting law in the toolbox. Methodological perspectives for legal geographers and beyond

10h-12h | Salle Roncayolo | 48 Boulevard Jourdan

From urban planning to the protection of ecosystems, from access to property to the repression of crime, law is everywhere in contemporary societies and deeply influences the way space is practiced and conceived. Therefore, any research that directly or indirectly examines space is necessarily confronted with empirical legal and/or judicial materials of various kinds. How can such materials be used? How to make sense of them in a scientific way? How can they contribute to a better understanding of space? What specific ethical issues do they bring about? Although for several decades critical legal studies, and in particular critical legal geography, have paid attention to the production of law, its interpretation and its enforcement, their methodologies have remained undertheorized. In this workshop, I propose to reflect collectively on the methodological issues raised by legal and judicial empirical materials.


Nicholas Blomley is Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has a long standing interest in legal geography, particularly in relation to property. He is interested in the spatiality of legal practices and relationships, and the worldmaking consequences of such legal geographies.

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