Critical moments of social spatialization in the neighborhood : an alternative reading of the mainstream gecekondu history
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This thesis aims to expose an alternative local historical reading of the formation of a gecekondu space as a response to modernist consideration of gecekondu development in Turkey. The social construction of neighborhood space, which occurs at the level of social imaginary and representations as well as at the level of real interventions in the form of social practices producing a built environment, is narrated by means of insider perspectives and using qualitative techniques. In this reading, it will be made explicit that the dynamics and patterns by which the modernist, strategic interventions in local space and tactical acts of the migrants in producing their locality are closely interconnected. This interconnectedness not only sheds light to the weaknesses of the strategical practice of imposing a modernist space but also the tactical acts of migrants utilizing the loopholes in the strategical realm. Spontaneity as the defining and intrinsic quality of gecekondu settlements is mainly embedded in the diverse local agencies that lead to spatial contingencies. The ethnic identities constitute the main means by which the migrants employ certain tactics with regard to strategical policy acts and to other groups in the neighborhood. Within the context of the intertwined nature of tactic and strategy, gecekondu settlements will be discussed as a by-product of the sum of modernist strategical acts more than as unintended consequences of urban development.