Category Archives: Nurnberg

When marginalized subjects map their city: Counter-mapping experiments with drug users in some German and French neighborhoods

Mélina Germes, Luise Klaus, “When marginalized subjects map their city: Counter-mapping experiments with drug users in some German and French neighborhoods”, Bulletin of Sociological Methodology/Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique, Volume: 152 issue: 1, page(s): 96-124. https://doi-org/10.1177/07591063211040234

This article aims to contribute to the social science discussion on urban policies and the integration (or exclusion) of the perspectives of marginalized groups by asking the question: If there were to be exhaustive urban planning relating to drug issues, what role should drug users play in the planning process? Our answer involves the use of a set of two complementary qualitative cartographic methods which allow us to focus on the inclusion of the voices of marginalized groups. This article is based on methodological experimentation in different French and German cities without aiming at a comparison. The article exposes and discusses firstly an individual interview method called ‘Emotional Mapping’, and secondly a participatory mapping workshop called ‘Ideal City Mapping’. The output of this project has been a web of visual and textual documents, in the form of reports, papers, articles and events such as a travelling exhibition, with the aim of engaging in public discussions with various key players.

Mapping “drug places” from below. The lived cities of marginalized drug users

Germes, M., Klaus, L. and Steckhan, S. (2021), “Mapping “drug places” from below. The lived cities of marginalized drug users”, Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 21 No. 3

Free full-text available on repository HAL-SHS

On top of their legal, economic, social and institutional marginalization, marginalized drug users (MDUs) also experience political marginalization: drug policies shape their lives without their political participation. From a scientific as well as a political perspective, the inclusion of their various viewpoints and situated knowledge is a major challenge, and one to which this paper aims to contribute in light of the experiences and imaginaries of MDUs urban spaces in several German cities.

Following a socio-geographical approach, this paper interrogates how MDUs appropriate and imagine the city, drawing on Lefebvre’s Production of Space and mixing critical cartographic with grounded theory, in the attempt to both understand and reconstruct the world from the situated perspective of MDUs based on their own words, drawings and emotions.

The narratives and drawings of participants show another cityscape, radically different from the hegemonic discourses and mappings antagonizing MDUs and making their existence a social problem. Space appears as a means of marginalization: there are barely any places that MDUs can legitimately appropriate-least of all so-called “public space.” By contrast, MDUs’ imaginaries of an ideal city would accommodate their existence and address further social justice issues.

The notion of “public places” appears unable to express MDU’s experiences. Instead of focusing on the problem of public spaces, policymakers should tackle the question of placemaking for MDUs beyond the level of solely drug-related places.

Emotional Mapping – Towards a geographical explanation of drug use

Luise Klaus & Mélina Germes
“Emotional Mapping. Towards a geographical explanation of drug use”

In: Kaló, Zsuzsa; Tieberghien, Julie, Korf, Dirk J. (Eds.), Why? Explanations for drug use and drug dealing in social drug research. Pabst Science Publishers, 2019.


In Europe, most open drug scenes have similar spatial and social characteristics, especially in the growing dynamic of gentrification. This may potentially marginalise more drug users in public spaces. The cities face the same challenges in terms of governance. Within a perspective rooted in critical cartography and social geography, we propose emotional mapping as a method of conceiving urban lived spaces of drug users in European cities, with the aim of considering marginalised drug users as the subjects of their narratives and spatial representations. The method allows a complex analysis of the spatial experiences of urban space. It shows how the emotional appropriation of space by drug users is embedded in the structural socio-spatial exclusion phenomenon in Europe. Continue reading

Portfolio of Emo-mapping in some German cities

In this portfolio of colored illustrations of a chapter published in the ESSD Conference Book 2019 we present very briefly some empirical material collected during emo-mapping interviews in Berlin (Mélina Germes, together with Francesca Guarascio and Christian Hergesell from NUDRA Project), Frankfurt am Main, Nuremberg and Munich (Luise Klaus). Continue reading

Drug policies within urban spaces: Emotional mapping as an innovative qualitative cartography method

Mélina Germes, Luise Klaus
ISSDP Conference, Paris, May 2019

This work is in progress. A key aspect of the interdisciplinarity of our work is that we aim to bring a geographical approach to research on drug policies. First, I will further explain what we mean with “drug policies are urban policies”. From our perspective as urban geographers, we aim to understand drug policies as part of urban policies. For three reasons:

– First, local actors like health institutions, police forces, harm-reduction agencies and municipalities play a key role in the implementation of drug policies.

– Second, all drug policies are strongly spatially structured: the localisation of harm reduction facilities in certain neighbourhoods depends from the geographies of drug consumption and its analysis by policy actors.

– Third, drug consumption itself has particular geographies, strongly bounded to the broader socio-economic geography of the cities.

A comprehensive analysis of drug policies and their challenges has to consider the city as a whole AND the other urban policies led by other institutions. In order to do so, we developed a method we called “emotional mapping”. Continue reading