Accepted Paper:

You take the fast boat I take the slow boat and I reach Istanbul before you   

Author:

Salim Aykut Ozturk (University College London (UCL))

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on Clifford’s notions of travelling and dwelling (1997), this paper studies the various ways boat travels are informative of various interrupted, terminated and resumed processes of community making in contemporary Istanbul.

Paper long abstract:

Residents of Kinaliada, a predominantly Armenian island within the Istanbul's Prince's Islands Archipelago, constantly complain about the boat schedules. The boat schedules are changed in accordance with the school terms, with less frequent boats in the winter and more in the summer. Three different boat companies serve the island, the 'vapur' (Istanbul's landmark boats run by the municipality), the 'seabus' (recently privatized fast catamaran), and the 'motor' (smaller boats run by a cooperative of entrepreneurs). Based on three years long extended fieldwork among the travelers on the boats and the dwellers on the island, this paper studies the ways through which complaining about the schedules and taking slow/fast boats shed light into community making processes of Armenians in post-Genocide Turkey.

Armenians constantly compare their tiny island to those of others (i.e., Jews, Greeks and Turks). They believe that their island is a 'failed island,' as unlike other islands, its residents lacked unity to deal with the ongoing problems especially about summer time transportation to/from the island. For them, in such multi-ethnic setting of the islands, each island is identified as a materialization of an ethno-religious community, and the 'failure' of Kinaliada (on imposing a boat schedule) is believed to be a direct result of the 'failure' of its Armenian community, and the 'success' of others is related to their non-Armenian populations. Apart from boat journeys, slowness in this sense both resonate with the delayed unity of the community and its failure vis-à-vis other island communities

Panel P069
Slow travelling: a precious heritage or a sustainable strategy for future mobilities? [ANTHROMOB & IUAES-Tourism]