Marylène Lieber is an Associate Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Geneva. Sociologist, she is a specialist of both gender violence in public places and Chinese migration – with a particular focus on Chinese sex workers in Paris. She has an international experience as Scholar in France (University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin), in Switzerland (Universities of Neuchâtel and Geneva), and in the Chinese world (People’s University, Beijing; CEFC, Taipei and Hong Kong). Among other things she published Genre, violences et espaces publics, la vulnérabilité des femmes en question (Presses de Science Po, 2008); « Sex and emotion-based relations as a resource in migration: Northern Chinese women in Paris » (with F. Lévy, Revue Française de Sociologie – English Issue, vol. 52, 2011).
Gender violence, public space, gender and migration, public policies, sociology of public
problems, China, Chinese migration
Who needs protection on the streets? The contrasted regulations of women’s presence in public space
My research project intends to analyze urban programs and policies that aim at ensuring the protection of women on the streets. As processes of inclusion and exclusion are a core issue when researching public space and urban policies, this project considers the case of Paris, by looking at the variety of rules and policies that regulate the presence of women in public places and analyzing the ways in which gendered programs that are supposed to target all women contribute to the categorization of some groups as legitimate and others as dangerous or undesirable, some individuals as autonomous, and others as in need of protection. In particular, it will explore how the issue of street harassment and gender violence in public places is dealt with differently in the Parisian project Gender and public places, in the local contract for safety and in the case of the management of street prostitution, thus highlighting how city governance and urban management of public places shape (and are shaped by) various representations of women’s vulnerability and autonomy, along the lines of class, sexuality, culture and race. While critiques of participatory urban programs are often based on the example of religious diversity, this project analyzes regulations aimed at groups of women who are usually considered radically distinct – women who sell sex and those who do not – and intends to highlight the moral construction of femininities which underpins womenfriendly urban policies.