Everywhere is Taksim': the politics of public space from nation-building to neoliberal islamism and beyond
Journal of Urban History
1 - 27
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This article discusses the politics of public space through the particular example of Taksim Square in Istanbul. Tracing Taksim’s history since the early twentieth century, the article analyzes the instrumentalization of public space in nation-building, the socialization of politics within the context of postwar rapid urbanization, and the (re)politicization of public space under neoliberal Islamism. Finally it arrives at an assessment of the nation-wide antigovernment protests that centered on Taksim Square in May–June 2013. Throughout this historical examination, the politics of public space is discussed with reference to the work of Henri Lefebvre, in order to scrutinize the spatial aspects of the relation between state and society. Accordingly, the rise of democratic public space is defined as a result of the mutual interaction between two bottom-up impetuses; the immanent politics of the social (the political character of everyday life) and the socialization of the political (civil political action).