Assembler son quotidien sur la route: une ethnographie de l'habiter mobile contemporain

In a context of housing crisis and general increase in short-term/casual work, new forms of social precarity have developed since the end of the nineties in Western countries. Furthermore, a movement of voluntary shift to nomadic lifestyles is initiated. People with diverse social backgrounds and motivations decided to invest in less sedentary spaces and mobilize their homes to maintain professional flexibility, ensure economic survival and/or experiment alternative ways of living, producing and consuming. Mobile dwelling belongs to the larger group of “unordinary” dwellings, which, apart from proper mobile homes, con- sist of precarious or provisionary housing. Implanted in urban wasteland or far from city centers, between temporary camping sites and side roads, they are considered and used as permanent homes by some and as a temporary lodging solution by others. This ethnography captures the mode of dwelling of residents that have opted for houses on wheels (transformed vans, trucks, buses) and explores the plural- ity of contexts and realities of their everyday lives. Following on a three years multi-sited research in France, this work aims at understanding the functioning of a mode of dwelling in the making. Based on practices, experiences and nar- ratives of these mobile and invisible craftsmen and women, the work treats therefore the “life in a vehicle” and its social, spatial and technical modalities.This research cares to deliver a report about the passages of those that have de- cided to live on the road. By their stories and experiences, this work traces the perspectives, motivations and desires of these mobile inhabitants while shed- ding light on the way in which they confront, negotiate, work around and are submitted to material and institutional fixities. By translating the question of the mobility of human beings into the mobility of dwellings, spaces, practices and techniques, the present work also explores how the mobile dwellers acquire and circulate multiple knowledge and skills on both mobility and dwelling.This work seeks to show how mobility and movement, beyond their physical and geographical dimensions, must also be perceived as an experiential journey and an apprenticeship.Taking house-truck as an entry door, this work finally analyzes the logics and tensions engulfing the conditions of displacement and installation of its inhabitants. It sheds also light on the ways in which these micro-territories are materially and spatially formalized at the margins of cities, dwelling and mobility.

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