Gentrification in İstanbul: Will İstanbul People be Gentrified?
Nazli Baykal (Suleyman Demirel University, Cunur, Isparta / Turkey)
With changes in the political and economic world order as well as in the development of foreign commercial relations of Turkey, the country's major cities entered a process of change during the 1980's in the form renewal and rehabilitation of residential areas in İstanbul. Some high-income or middle class people moved out of the city center while these central areas are occupied by mostly lower-income people. After the restoration and renewal process, people of upper social classes, income groups, cultures and lifestyles (artists, writers, painters,sculptures, architects etc.) are demanding to live in these places displacing the existing owners of their houses. This process is known as 'gentrification' (Ergun, 2004). Some researchers viewed the characteristics of the gentrifiers (people who are the new owners of gentrified areas) to be of greater importance in the understanding of gentrification because these characteristics lead to socio-cultural modifications (Hamnett, 1984; Bondi, 1999 in Ergun, 2004). Their areas of interest, habits and demands for setting and keeping a lifestyle at a certain standard are very important factors. As a result, low-income workers, immigrants and those generally marginalized have to leave the rehabilitated areas (Ergun, 2004).
There have been three waves of gentrification in İstanbul starting from 1980’ s and continuing to this day. The displacement of people were involuntary in all cases except for one or two intances causing economic, social and cultural problems and creating a “discourse against gentrification”. Considering the professional efforts and campaigns together with the huge number of objections / protests in the form of interviews with the people living in these areas, it is inevitable not to notice the linguistic data gathering behind (Behar& Islam, 2006). The greater picture emerging is two conflicting groups of people (gentrifiers and old inhabitants) stating their reasons why they are against this process.
In this study, the linguistic data is examined using the framework of inter group conflict theory explained by Cargile et.al (2006). The reasons of conflict given by the participants of this study and Cargile et.al’s match to a great extent except for one or two items. This “discourse against gentrification” composes of a huge category of “emotional reactions” to this process imposed through globalization.
- Behar, D.; Islam,T. İstanbul’ da “Soylulastirma: Eski Kentin Yeni Sahipleri (Gentrification in Istanbul: The New Inhabitants of the Old City) (ed.) Istanbul Bilgi University Publications, 2006.
- Cargile, A. C; Bradac, J. J; Cole, T. (2006): Theories of Intergroup Conflict: A Report on Lay Attributions, Journal of Language and Social Psychology,25;47.
- Ergun, N. (2004): Gentrification in Istanbul, Cities, 21;5:391–405.