News & Events

Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar: Gökce Sanul (Phd at Cosmopolis)

17 March 2016 , Department of Geography, room F4.66, 12h00-14h00

Politicization of the urban space: scrutinizing the contested relations between public authorities and cultural institutions in Istanbul

The rapid urban transformation of Istanbul reveals both the impact of AKP government’s neoliberal policies combined with the imaginary of neo-Ottomanism and the increasing tensions between public authorities and cultural actors. Accordingly, Beyoğlu, known as the cultural centre of Istanbul, emerges as a contested zone where cultural institutions of all sizes have been concentrated; and the symbolic cultural spaces of everyday life have become the major sites of urban social movements. 

Since the foundation of the Turkish Republic, whereas the culture is perceived as a source of spatial boundary between the secular and religious ways of lives; recently some cultural institutions have started to politicize the urban space by shifting the debate from secular vs. Islamist to the authoritarianism vs democratization axis.  Within this context, by focusing on a specific area in Beyoğlu, I ask in what ways the contested relations between public authorities and cultural institutions contribute to the politicization of the urban space and to the emergence of new kinds of social and political actions in Istanbul.