Home-making in diversity: social and spatial encounters with difference in a migration hub in Istanbul (completed)

Kristen Biehl

This doctoral research project examined the ways in which differences are socially and spatially experienced in contexts of intense migration-led diversification, and where ‘old’ meets ‘new’. For her research, Kristen conducted ethnographic fieldwork in a historic Armenian quarter of Istanbul called Kumkapı, which in recent decades has been rapidly transformed into a central residential hub for internal migrants of Kurdish origin, as well as very diverse immigrant and refugee groups. In Kumkapı, Kristen examined housing and home-making practices among these various groups as lenses for understanding the kinds of differences, such as ethnicity, gender, race and migration purpose, which inform the use and perception of space and identification with it. Furthermore, the diversity of these perceptions of space were historically and geographically juxtaposed to the larger transformations of urban space in Istanbul in order to assess the kinds of governing forces that underlie the social and spatial experiences of increasingly mobile and globalized urban populations.

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