Constructing diasporas : Turkish hip-hop youth in Berlin
This thesis examines the construction and articulation of diasporic cultural ident4y among Turkish male hip-hop youth living in Kreuzberg, Berlin. The research reflects upon the narratives and life-worlds of two predominantly male youth groups, whose 'habitats of meaning' are primarily defined by the ethnic enclave in which they are living. The research strategy mainly involves qualitative research techniques such as 'rapport', 'in-depth interviews' and 'semi-structured interviews', and attempts to go beyond the dichotomy of 'objectivism' and 'subjectivism' by combining the two in a hybrid form. The main assumption of this study is that Berlin-Turkish hip-hop youngsters have recently developed a politics of diaspora to cope with their structural outsiderism in their country of settlement. The social and cultural space created by Turkish migrants and their descendants in Kreuzberg, or in what they call 'Little Istanbul', constitutes a diasporic space which provides the modem diasporic subject with a syotholic bridge between the diaspora and their homeland. In this diasporic space, they tend to gain an 'imagined sense of belonging' to their homeland Turkey, which has been 'deferred' as a spiritual, cultural and political metaphor, on the other hand, conversely they also develop a strong sense of homing to the 'Turkified' Kreuzberg. Besides shedding light on the notion of diasporic identity, this study also attempts to underline two major constituents shaping diasporic cultural identity, namely globalisation and cultural bricolage. Modern diasporic identity is constructed and articulated through means of globalisation. The growth of modern communication and transportation networks such as TV channels, video tapes, newspapers, internet facilities and charter flights has facilitated and increased the pace of communication between Germany and Turkey. In consonance with this, the diaspora has infiltrated the homeland, and the homeland infiltrated the diaspora. Transnational connections with homeland, other members of diaspora in various geographies, and/or with a world-political force (such as Islam) break the binary relation of minority conamunities with majority societies as well as strengthening their claims against an oppressive national hegemony. Modem means of globalisation have not only brought the homeland closer to the diaspora, but also erased the distance between the diasporic subject and the external world. Modern networks of globalisation have provided Berlin-Turkish youth with an opportunity to incorporate themselves into different global cultural streams such as hip-hop culture. In the context of Berlin-Turkish hip-hop youth, what emerged out of these transnational links is a syncretic form of minority youth culture, or 'third culture'. This 'third culture' is a bricolage in which elements from different cultural traditions, sources and social discourses are continuously intermingled with and juxtaposed to each other. This work also investigates the transformation of political participation strategies which Turkish migrants in Berlin have developed since the beginning of the migratory process in 1961. So far, there have been two principal strategies, namely a migrant strategy and a minor4y strategy. Both strategies developed along ethnic lines partly due to the exciusionist incorporation regimes of the Federal Republic of Germany vis-â-vis' migrants. Yet, recently diasporic consciousness seems to be replacing, or at least, supplementing the migrant and minority strategies. The work concludes that the politics of diaspora is grounded on different antithetical forces such as past/present, here/there, 'tradition'/'translation' and local/global. In this sense, modern diasporic identity conveys an identity which is not a fixed, essentialist and authorised totality, but which is always in a constant process of change and transformation.