Following up on my post exploring the Nuit Debout protest movement in France as creating a nocturnal heterotopia, I took advantage of a few days without teaching at the end of last week (May 5th-7th) to make a quick visit to the protests, and explore the site for myself.
Nuit Debout have turned the Place de la République into a nightly cauldron of protest, discussion, social support and experimentation. From roughly 2 or 3 in the afternoon until 1 or 2 in the morning – the protesters are now cleared by police if they try to stay later – the la République becomes the site of discussions, talks, film showings, soup-kitchens, art displays, music performances, political protest and partying, all drawing from the changes that take place in the city as day moves to night.
As a heterotopia – “a sort of simultaneously mythic and real contestation of the space in which we live”…
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