Kentsel Mekanın Üretiminde Raslantısallık Sorunu Üzerine

Keskinok, H. Çağatay
Urban space is socially produced. It is a product of a dialectical relationship between the 'space as a locus of affairs' and the 'focus of agents'. This social production of space is not realized autonomously. Space is structured, restructured, produced, reproduced and transformed by the conscious and unconscious efforts of the agents and by the mediation of all of these. The relationship between structure and agency is a dialectical one. These are (re)determined and (re)defined at different levels of the given social formation. Despite the conscious activities, mediations and interventions of the agents, the process of (re)production of urban space is to a certain extent open to contingencies. Urban space is (re)produced through complex relations of determination. Thus, any study on urban spatial patterns and state intervention into spatial development cannot be conceived by utilizing a mono-causal and uni-directional mode of reasoning. In capitalism, the process of creating, reproducing and using space is full of contradictions and tensions between capital and labor, between landed interests and capitalist interests, between landed interests and labor, etc. In social formations characterized by the articulation of non-capitalist modes of production with capitalist mode, we may add the contradictions and tensions pertinent to these articulated modes of productions and conflicts resulting from the confrontation of all of these. But urban space is not (re)produced as direct results of these contradictions, but on the basis of these contradictions. If a dialectical relationship between structure and the agents is not specified at all levels of analysis, whether it be global, regional or city level, the framework will necessarily lead to functionalism. In addition, a point of view which does not locate the sphere of class struggle, activities of the state, competition (organizational) and conflicts within the frame of analysis will fall into functionalism and in the final moment, will lead to capital-oriented explanations about urban spatial outcomes. The state's activity on space and its intervention into urban spatial (reproduction is structurally limited by the economic level, that is, ensemble of the articulations between productive forces and the relations of production and the mode of accumulation. The state itself as a structure is not a repetition of the economic level but a secondary moment of societal development. However, the production of space is open to certain contingencies. These emerge because of the complex determinations between structures and the agents in a dialectical manner. Selections among the structurally limited alternatives may produce different consequences. The contingency of outcomes emerges from the necessary articulation of the contradictions defining the determining structure and that of determined structures. This includes disparities, relations of reproduction and non-reproduction, functionalities and dysfunctionalities. There are some limits to this contingecy, that is, disparities between intended actions of the agents on space and the spatial outcomes. Here the vital question is which characteristics are reproduced in spatial reproduction. Neither the structural aspects of the spatial development, nor the transformative capacity of human action can be neglected. However this transformative capacity depends upon special circumstances. The 'relationship of reproduction or nonreproduction' signifies the role of strategic decision-making among the structurally limited range of alternatives. The contingency of outcomes depends upon the selections made among the structurally possible alternatives, İn cases of existence or non-existence of the mediation from the struggling social forces within or outside the state apparatus or both. At this point the very question is how to locate the strategic role of decisionmaking processes within the determinations between structures and the agents. In this effort, non-contingent aspects should be distinguished. Otherwise, the framework will lead us to a pluralistic conception of the production of space, conceptualizing the urban space as a sum of individual activities, preferences and choices. At least, the relations of private ownership and possession prevailing on and defining urban land are not contingent. For instance, the contradiction between capitalist interests and landed interests is a source of contingency in public decision-making processes. There are limits of contingency resulting from reproductive or non-reproductive effects of the selection mechanisms. For us, economic needs and socio-spatial phenomena are not related to each other in a one-to-one correspondance, in accordance with any 'a priori functional necessity'. To defeat this functionalism, it is necessary to distinguish the functional and dysfunctional aspects and elements of this process which has an uneven character.


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Citation Formats
H. Ç. Keskinok, “Kentsel Mekanın Üretiminde Raslantısallık Sorunu Üzerine,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 18, no. 1-2, pp. 91–102, 1998, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: