I’ve been thinking about animal rights activism in Istanbul as a form of alternative solidarity being built under polarized political circumstances, and wondering how social media might play into this. Continue reading “Fieldwork blog: animal protection as urban solidarity”
I’m very glad to be joining the sessions of a great event at Kadir Has University in Istanbul. Coinciding with my first days of fieldwork here in the city, the workshop has brought together a number of scholars whose work is very important to my own investigations of social media in the Turkish context and theorizations of what digital media do in society. The workshop sessions have contained a great abundance of exchange, primarily about practical methodological experiences and approaches of doing ethnographic research in Turkey.
This week our team’s paper was presented at IMISCOE’s annual conference, on a panel about methodological considerations in digital migration studies. Our paper, ‘Mapping Digital Diaspora: Legacies and Challenges,’ was based on a case study analysis of a Turkish-Dutch diaspora issue that mobilized people through social media. We use it to argue for new methods for tracing diasporic engagement online and related implications for conceptualizing diaspora in contexts of digital media proliferation.
I was asked to write a commentary for the latest issue of Spheres: Journal for Digital Cultures.
Yesterday I dropped by an inspiring symposium on Public Lives/Private Platform: The Politics of Twitter organized by Matt Cornell and co. at the University of Amsterdam. Was a great, self-organized space for activists, academics, journalists, and critical tech enthusiasts of many sorts. The keynote lecture by Jillian York on the history of the hashtag was very cool and it was a pleasure to meet her. Continue reading “Symposium on the Politics of Twitter at the University of Amsterdam”
I noticed that the sheer expanse of the city meant that people only really lived in a few neighbourhoods of it. In everyday life, there seemed to be no single Istanbul, but more of a series of passages through, and dwellings within, more particular settings. People regularly attributed their lack of time for meeting up to the long travel times between different places they had to be. And although I realise this condition isn’t specific to Istanbul (the same probably happens in any city, especially one on this scale) I nevertheless had the feeling that any singular idea of the city as a whole evaded me.
To understand the historical, political, and emotional resonance of this migration, we must first analyse such categories as gurbet and gurbetci. The gurbetci – one who lives in exile, diaspora, or away from the homeland – lives in a state of gurbet. It is a relative term, one that might describe the state of those living in Frankfurt, as well as Turks living in Istanbul, who feel that their primary identification is with their natal village rather than the city. The emergent literature and musical genres produced by Turkish artists in western Europe, although addressing this relatively recent phenomenon, actually draws upon a long tradition of exile and gurbet experiences. Throughout history, Turks have known many types of exile and migration. Thus, there is an established paradigm for the cultural structuring of contemporary labor migration.
Chapter 8 “Shifting centers and emergent identities: Turkey and Germany in the lives of Turkish Gastarbeiter,” by Ruth Mandel in “Muslim Travellers: Pilgrimage, Migration, and the Religious Imagination” by Dale Eikelman and James Piscatori (1990) University of California Press, Berkeley