Maboneng, "place of light"

Night discourses as a place of symbolic violence?

French Institute Seminars in Humanities (FISH)
24 March 2015

15:00 – IFAS Conference Room, 62 Juta Street, Braamfontein


Chrystel Oloukoï
Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne – ENS Paris

“Why study the night? Nothing happens at night here”. What raised my interest for Johannesburg nocturnal spaces was the widely spread idea that they were mostly deserted spaces, because of fear of crime mostly. In the same time, marketing images of the city were riddled with nightscapes, revealing a paradox between repulsiveness and attractiveness towards nocturnal spaces, which was confirmed by deeper research. From that starting question, about deserted spaces at night, to that startled question that I encountered many times (“Why study the night? Nothing happens at night here”), this is around the pursuit of that “nothing” that my research revolved, guided by the feeling that nights had a lot to tell us about Johannesburg.


Chrystel Oloukoiï is a cultural geography student at Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris (ENS) and in first year of Master’s Degree at University Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne.