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The Political construction of urban development projects: The Political construction of urban development projects : the case of İzmir

Penpecioğlu, Mehmet
Urban Development Projects (UDPs) have become hegemonic projects of redefining urban political priorities. The political construction of UDPs could not only be investigated through analyzing capital accumulation processes. To reveal how UDPs are politically constructed, this thesis investigates how governmental and non-governmental agents form a hegemonic block to mobilize hegemonic discursive practices and coercive-legislative mechanisms in the formation of UDPs. A Lefebvrian-inspired neo-Gramscian theoretical perspective is formulated to overcome eco nomic determinist and voluntarist agent-oriented approaches. Critical realist methodology is adopted with combining deductive and inductive strategies and qualitative and quantitative methods. In the first stage of research, the thesis critically and comparatively reviews the politics of different UDPs from different countries and then deduces initial arguments from this review. In the second stage, these arguments are reconsidered in the light of the empirical evidence of the case study. New City Center and İnciraltı Tourism Center Development Projects from İzmir are investigated in the case study through critical discourse analysis, questionnaires and in-depth interviews. The case study reveals how governmental and non-governmental agents collaborate to mobilize public support and consent for UDPs. The concept of “capacity to produce consent” is proposed to theorize hegemonically constructed discourses, activities and relations of governmental and non-governmental a gents. However this hegemonically constructed capacity is no t the only base of political power. Legislative interventions operate as coercive mechanisms and play key roles in the implementation of UDPs. UDPs are politically constructed by the complementary relation and differential articulation of hegemonically constructed capacities and coercive-legislative mechanisms.