Women and the housing environment: The experiences of Turkish migrant women in squatter (Gecekondu) and apartment housing
Environment and Behavior
764 - 798
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This article investigates the experiences of rural migrant women in an apartment district and a squatter (gecekondu) settlement in Ankara, Turkey. It demonstrates the significant role the housing environment plays in the lives of women, both by defining who they are and by shaping their daily lives through encouraging some behavior and discouraging others. Gecekondu housing is potentially a source of negative identity for those migrant women whose reference group is the modern established urbanites, whereas those migrant women who take the gecekondu community as their reference group tend to preserve a positive image of themselves. On the other hand, apartment housing enhances a feeling of achievement in its residents of village origin. Furthermore, gecekondu housing encourages intimate social relations and thereby social control, whereas apartment housing demands some formality in neighborly relations and provides privacy. As social agents, women use their environment actively, attempting to foster certain images of themselves, and communicating those images to others as well as to themselves. This is particularly apparent in the case of modern gecekondu women who, by their outward appearances and demeanor, challenge the negative image attributed to gecekondu residents by the larger society.