ANR Project 'The Big Warehouse'

An emerging storage industry: market places, economic organisations and networks

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Based on works dealing with the emergence of "free zones" (Mercier, 1997, 2017) from industrial-commercial “grey zones” (Azaïs, 2014), we suggest that the storage function plays a crucial role in the organisation of what some economists call the "warehouse economy" (Porter M., 1947; Gereffy G., 1994). As they combine rational stock management, flexible employment and multiscalar circuits, these zones are privileged space-times for understanding the changes underway in transnational economies.


The aim of this project is to show the major strategic role of the warehouse as a space of reference and centrality of productive systems.


We intend to conduct this research:
1) At strategic industrial or commercial locations, which this economy reactivates or reinvents
2) Starting from commercial channels that particularly illustrate the complexity of this economy and the way in which it is deployed,
3) Finally, we want to investigate the networks of stakeholders and actors who find a particular identity in it, and in the ways of organising work that they value,
4) Within these networks, we want to pay particular attention to those who, coming from popular worlds, contribute to this warehouse economy at the end of the chain, by bringing 'scraps' and surpluses to dedicated markets.


Principal investigator: Delphine Mercier


Scientific promotion and mediation: Mélanie Forné and David Lagarde


Duration: 01/01/2022 – 31/12/2025

Funding: ANR – French National Research Agency


The project is co-hosted by the Maison Française d’Oxford and the Laboratoire d’Économie et de Sociologie du Travail (LEST)