Research themes

The CREDA, Centre for research and documentation on the Americas, focuses its work on four research areas:

The Americas under an interconnected perspective: people, practices and knowledge

Coordination: Olivier Compagnon (Associate Professor) and David Dumoulin (Associate Professor)
This research area ideally follows the works conducted between 2007 and 2011 by the CREDA research Area: “The triangle: Latin America-Europe-North America: circulation of knowledge and cultural practices”.  This research theme focuses on the multiple connections between the Americas and the rest of the world and aims at encouraging important reflections on the “circulation of knowledge” between these continents. 

State and Public Action: public policies and development, regional integration and international participation

Coordination: Carlos Quenan, professor
This research area builds on works previously undertaken by the pole ”Regional integration in the Americas“ and takes into account a watershed moment in Latin America recent history: the return of the State on the political scene, with a strengthened role for its actors in the economic and social processes. A phenomenon considered as a necessity to improve the quality of public policies and break away from the extremes of neo-liberalism. This revamped role of the State translates into an increased interest for public policies design and effectiveness, and goes hand in hand with a redefinition of public agendas to implement development policies centred on both social issues (e.g. fight against poverty, social policies, affirmative action) and economic issues (e.g. infrastructures investments, energy security, global and regional integration).

The American wide spaces between rural reorganisation, natural resources preservation and exploitation

Coordination: François Michel Le Tourneau, Research Director
The Americas remain the continent of wide unexploited spaces, as only 13,5 % of the world population occupies them. On the other hand, according to the FAO (2005) they are home to more than 68% of the world primary forests (about 9 millions squared km out of a total of 15 millions squared km) for 1/3 of emerged land, where three American countries alone (Brazil Canada and the USA) host more than a half of the world primary forests. Overall, the continent conserves an important proportion of the wide spaces that have not been significantly affected by anthropic action. If we look at the ratio between the inhabited spaces and areas devoted to agricultural activities, and the wide spaces we can observe that the Americas still preserve a particularly important percentage of these spaces versus anthropised areas (70% of wide spaces in the Americas, against 60% in other continents).

Metropolitan territories and cities in the Americas: social and environmental issues

Coordination: Cynthia Ghorra Gobin, Research Director and Denis Merklen, professor.
This area focuses on metropolitan territories and more specifically on their issues in a world characterised by rapid processes of urbanisation where half the world population lives in cities, while the Americas represent the most urbanised continent. The metropolitan territory, regardless of its size – the last US census minted the expression “ micropolitan territory” for “central cities” whose population is below 50.000 inhabitants – can be justified since it is at this scale that cities’  “comparative advantage” plays the most in terms of inter-metropolitan rivalry in a globalised context. The choice to be part of economic flows compels several decision-makers to give priority to spur “territorial attractiveness” by public policies focused on “prestige” urban interventions – at times referred to as “mega” –. Such policies are aimed at attracting both investments and “creative classes” to ensure a satisfactory performance of the metropolises in international rankings. The attention paid to economic factors, stemming from the neo-liberal ideology, also entails social impacts and a number of environmentally-related conflicts. As such, metropolises stand as the political spaces of social and environmental challenges