The making of crossroads: understanding in-betweenness as a value through the circulation of carpets in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar
(University of Helsinki)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the centuries-old trade of carpets and kilims within Istanbul's Grand Bazaar as a means to explore the relationship between circulation, value and the construction of a location as crossroads.
Paper long abstract:
Problems of connectedness, mobility and flow are common - and not exclusive - to any large urban center in the contemporary world. In the case of Istanbul, however, these matters are significantly inflected by the magnitude of the city's historical relevance, its unique topography, and its geopolitical position. Having tourism as one of its main industries, iconic postcards of the city depict landscapes or places which evoke those attributes. As the world's largest and oldest covered market of its kind, the Grand Bazaar stands as one of this prominent places, having occupied a major role in inscribing Istanbul as one of the most significant Mediterranean 'crossroads' throughout the centuries. This paper focuses on one of the most iconic trades within the Bazaar, namely, the trade of carpets and kilims. Through an ethnographic informed analysis of the circulation of these goods -and of ideas associated with them - the proposed paper engages with how changes and adjustments in this centuries-old trade provide insights into the making of a location as a temporal and spacial crossroads - and the potential value of establishing 'crossroads' as a relative location (Green 2016).
Locating the Mediterranean: connections and separations across space and time