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Title: Hegemony and urban space : the case of the Turkish capital Ankara
Author: Sengul, Huseyin Tarik
ISNI:       0000 0001 3393 8749
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1998
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Cities are social products resulting from conflicting interests. Urban space is produced, reproduced and transformed through the action of interest-driven human agency who strive for different outcomes. Some see urban space as a living place, whereas some others perceive it as a source of speculative gaining or use it as an arena of representation for a particular identity. While actors change urban space with their strategies, schemes and projects, they do so always under a specific structural context. In this respect, the relationship between strategy and structure stands as one of the basic problems of urban social and political analysis. The thesis develops a strategic relational approach to the state and the urban question which overcomes some of the difficulties of the structure-agency nexus, and applies it to the study of first the Turkish state, and then to the analysis of its capital Ankara. Having shown that the dominant, state-centered perspectives in Turkey analyses the state and the urban question around a misleading duality, such as the élite versus the masses and the state versus civil society, it is argued that a relational understanding of the state and the urban question which overcomes the dualities, between the society and the state, is the more productive. A study of the Turkish state and its capital Ankara is hardly possible without referring to the Kemalist project. For this reason, the Kemalist project is placed at the centre of analysis and argued that Kemalism needs to be seen as a bourgeois revolution with nation state formation as its most distinctive aspect. Having shown that the Kemalist project denied the real communities that were a part of Ottoman tradition, in favour of an imagined community which was thought to be Western-looking, secular and modern, it is revealed that the most important spatial dimension of this denial was the rejection of the Imperial capital, Istanbul, in favour of a small Anatolian town, Ankara. As a symbol, arena and means of this transformation, Ankara exhibited all the contradictions of this refusal in the form of a duality between the old town inherited from the Ottoman period, and the new town which was built by the Republican regime. The duality took a new form and gained new dimensions after the Second World War with the massive population influx into the city from the rural areas, as the emerging squatters at the outskirts of the city outnumbered the established population of the city in a short space of time. This case study of Ankara dwelled upon the view that although the cultural and identity dimensions, which are the central concerns of the mainstream literature, are important ones in the understanding of the development of the city, economic and material interests are central to an exhaustive understanding of the socio-spatial change the city underwent, as Ankara has not been only a capital but also a capitalist city where exchange value overrides other forms of value.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: G Geography (General)