Morphology of brothels: An investigation of spatial censorship and stigmatization - the case of Adana, Turkey

Çalışkan, Olgu
The fabric of the modern city is reproduced through standardized and sanitized spatial orders controlled by legal building codes and steered by inherited socio-spatial norms. In this context, marginal areas (i.e., slums, refugee camps, brothels) are deemed as deviations in which the ‘legitimate’ spatial syntax is interrupted and deformed. As marginal spaces pose a threat to moral concerns and the city's image, they are exposed to urban policies supported by a series of purification strategies. Brothels, as a kind of marginal space longstanding in urban history, have been systematically subject to different forms of moral cleansing to maintain public order. Modern geographies of sex work are continuously considered problematic in various urban contexts in terms of social, political, moral, juridical, and spatial aspects. Accordingly, subversive operations against brothels are common recurring actions enacted by state agencies in many modern cities. Exclusion, isolation, displacement, and concealment are adopted to keep these ‘immoral spaces’ out of the sight and consciousness of the moral majority. This study investigates the spatial dimensions of exclusionary operations and discourse regarding the location-choice processes and territorialization dynamics of the legal brothels in Turkey. Patterns of urban stigma and neglect are traced through the existing contexts of brothels. After the general framework is established through examples across the country, a focused study is conducted for Adana Brothel. The study area is analyzed in a multi-scalar framework regarding relocation processes, spatial structure, spatial syntax, land use pattern, visibility, typo-morphological features, and boundary conditions. Accordingly, the sociopolitical attitude, exclusionary discourses, and displacement practices over the brothel are investigated, and the ‘spatial censorship’ strategies towards the brothels are revealed. Eventually, the research aims to develop the limited knowledge of brothels from a socio-morphological perspective.
Citation Formats
B. İNCE and O. Çalışkan, “Morphology of brothels: An investigation of spatial censorship and stigmatization - the case of Adana, Turkey,” Cities, vol. 150, pp. 0–0, 2024, Accessed: 00, 2024. [Online]. Available: