Ethnic encounters in the urban space: Evidence from two working class districts in Istanbul
Aysen Ustubici (Koc University)
Paper short abstract:
The paper focuses on Syrians' experiences of incorporation in the urban context of Istanbul, on their encounters with service providers and local residents. The findings are based on fieldwork conducted in two districts of Istanbul where the presence of newly arrived Syrian population prevails.
Paper long abstract:
Several recent reports and research underscored inhospitable attitudes towards Syrian refugees in Turkey. Existing findings mostly rely on surveys measuring how local residents perceive Syrian as "the other". However, surveys fall short to reveal how Syrians experience such encounters and respond to stigmatization and exclusion. Using neighborhoods as units of observation, the paper focuses on Syrians' experiences of incorporation in the urban context of Istanbul, with a particular focus on their encounters with service providers, local residents from Turkish as well as other immigrant backgrounds. Looking at both sides of the coin, the paper also explores how local immobile/ settled residents and mobile / displaced newcomers locate themselves within the wider discussions of integration, deservingness, social cohesion and how they re-draw ethnic boundaries during daily exchanges.The findings are based on fieldwork conducted in two districts of Istanbul where the presence of newly arrived Syrian population prevails. The data collection process included focus groups and semi-structured interviews with Syrians, local inhabitants as well as with service providers to reveal how urban dwellers describe the social word and recent changes in their immediate urban space. The analysis is also informed by observations in various social spaces such as local cafés, hometown associations, shops, medical clinics, community centers.
Hospitality and its reverse: migration and xenophobia in Southern Europe and beyond [MedNet Mediterraneanist Network]