Trust in context: problematizing trust(ing) in Turkey among rural-to-urban migrant women

Date
2021-01
Advisor
Erman, Tahire
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Bilkent University
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English
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Abstract

This dissertation examines trust and problematizes the process(es) and context in the case of rural-to-urban migrant women in contemporary urbanizing Turkey. The influx of rural-to-urban migration since the 1950s has impacted both spatial and social change in the country’s largest cities, including the transformation of gecekondu dwellings into apartment complexes. The changes and challenges that now accompany apartment living—the loss of communal and informal ways of life facilitated by the spatiality of gecekondu—impact women as they navigate social relations. Using the gecekondu habitus as a conceptual tool, this qualitative study takes a contextual, relational and process-oriented approach to trust by asking: How is trust understood and experienced by migrant women? How does this affect everyday life for migrant women and their families? And what does it look like to foster trusting neighborly relations in light of apartment life? As a result of analyzing twenty in-depth semi-structured interviews by focusing on emerging themes this study found first that migrant women understood and experienced trust(ing) as an on-going relational process of negotiating two competing desires—not being harmed and not being alone—entailing a gendered iterative practice through knowing, visiting, sharing, and helping over time. And second, women need their neighbors in order to do the work of social reproduction given their structural disadvantages and the challenges of apartment living. This necessitates the negotiation of neighborly (trust) relations in the formalized spatiality of the apartments with those from different sociocultural groups, including those who have not lived in a gecekondu.

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Interpersonal trust, Gecekondu habitus, Women’s neighborliness, Socio-spatial transformation, Turkey
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