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Spatiality of diaspora: representation of home on urban street in the case of Beyoğlu, Istanbul

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2019
Uysal, Burcu
Elaborated on the notion and the production of diaspora as space through the tactics of territoriality that surface in the practices of everyday life, this research posits the idea of home embedded in the essence of the diaspora in its focus. It argues that through the ways of operating in the city, the diasporic subject represents the idea of home in urban space, and thus appropriates it by bending the territorial boundaries and blurring the distinction between us and them. Drawing on go-along interviews as an ethnographic research tool conducted in Beyoğlu, İstanbul, it traces the spatial reflections of the idea of home for Syrian diaspora on the streets of Beyoğlu. In the analysis of the go-along interviews, a multi-scalar sense of home constructed in the spatial encounters with Beyoğlu Urban Site is revealed. Such differentiated senses of home for the diaspora community show not only that the idea of home is associated with the idea of a homeland but also indicates that it can be associated with the built environment, social environment, feelings or moment. On the relationship between the diaspora and urban space, this research further aims to contribute to the spatial dimension of diaspora that seems to be neglected in the literature of urban design by questioning the role of the inhabited urban space in the homemaking practices of diaspora.