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Public Space and Social Polarization

A case study of the New Wave Turkish Migrants with a comparative analysis of Berlin, İstanbul & Ankara

Abstract

Public space is by no means a place for complete unity or harmony. It is always open to contradiction and struggle. It is a space in which dwellers of the city find various ways to cope with living with one another. This could be in the form of negotiation, or confrontation. Or, it could be where they avoid others, where they maintain distance. Yet, there is always the expectation of all parties, to have one’s own place in that struggle. Turkey has experienced increased social polarization in recent years, and this is reflected in its public spaces. With the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality in politics being also found in everyday urban life, the gap between different lifestyles has greatened, hostility among people has intensified and urban space became a battlefield rather than a ground for commons. Hate and intolerance began to define what is public. In the meantime, a great number of high-skilled, young individuals, particularly from İstanbul and Ankara, began to leave the country to carve out a better future; and, one of the popular destinations was Berlin, Germany. This paper addresses this group of young migrants to make a comparative analysis on the definitions of public space and to rethink the social production of urban space. With thirty interviews and two focus groups, it aims to consider the reflections of social polarization on public space.

Published:
Pages:111 to 128
Section: Society
How to Cite
Kulkul, C. (2020) “Public Space and Social Polarization”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(1), pp. 111-128. doi: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v5i1.1128.

Author Biography

Ceren Kulkul is a PhD candidate at Humboldt University of Berlin/Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences and under the Department of Social Sciences/ Urban Sociology. Her bachelor's and master's degrees are from Middle East Technical University, Department of Sociology. Her research interests are urban sociology, sociology of religion and migration studies.

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ISSN 2206-9658