Dissertation Abstracts

Going public: Women's experience of everyday urban public space in Ankara across generations between 1950s and 1980s

Author: Selda Tuncer, sel.selda@gmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Supervisor: Prof Dr Ayse Saktanber
Year of completion: 2014
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: women , public space , city , everyday life
Areas of Research: Women in Society , Regional and Urban Development , Social Transformations and Sociology of Development


The central concern of this study is the interrelationship between space and gender, focusing on the everyday lives of women in urban public spaces. Presented as a comprehensive research on how women access and use public spaces in urban everyday life in the case of Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, the main objective of this study is to understand how they perceive and relate to the public as the outside world in its most inclusive sense. Based on an analysis of women’s accounts of public space, the study looks also at how they interpret and narrate their experiences. By examining the micro-practices and micro-objectives in the everyday lives of women of different generations, a critical examination is made of Turkish modernization through the lens of gender and space relations. This generational empirical study also sheds light upon how certain cultural norms and practices relating to the access and experience of public space by women were performed and transmitted through and between different generations of women. The focus of the study is primarily the period between 1950 and 1980, which can be considered as a period in which the Turkish modernization process had reached an advanced level of maturity. The main era explored in the study is the period preceding the launch of the Republican modernity project, in which the transformation of the roles of women in society in accordance with the new secular regime was one of the most ambitious goals. By interviewing twenty-seven women of two generations living in three old traditional middle-class neighbourhoods in Ankara, it is intended to reveal to what extent and through what activities women participated in and contributed to urban public life at the time in Ankara. The study, in this regard, aims to provide for the development of a comprehensive framework for understanding the historical construction and (re)shaping of public space and its relationship to gender relations in the Turkish context.