Dissertation Abstracts

Promises and Costs of Gentrification: The Case of Dikmen Valley

Author: Oznur Yardimci, oznurerdemli@gmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: Lancaster University, United Kingdom
Supervisor: Andrew Sayer & Imogen Tyler
Year of completion: 2018
Language of dissertation: United Kingdom

Keywords: gentrification , citizenship , class , Turkey
Areas of Research: Housing and Built Environment , Political Sociology , Social Classes and Social Movements

Abstract

This thesis explores the class impact of gentrification, contributing to a deeper insight into multiple experiences of gentrification. Centring on an ethnographic study of gentrification in Dikmen Valley in Ankara, it is concerned with the relations among the multiple actors involved in the on-going Dikmen Valley Urban Transformation Project. The project aimed to transform an area that contained many squatter communities into an area of luxury apartments and parkland. Its implementation and the conflicts it prompted were deeply shaped by shifts towards a neoliberal urban development regime and by a revision of earlier policies towards the squatter settlers. The study approaches gentrification as a dynamic process in which urban space is redeveloped in ways that complicate class hierarchies. The thesis argues that it is vital to examine the processes of inclusion to grasp the class impact of gentrification, which is not limited to displacement and stigmatisation. It therefore examines the processes in which inclusion is promoted and negotiated by multiple actors living through gentrification. To address these questions, the study combines historical and ethnographic research. Drawing on documentary research on the changing urban policies and citizenship agendas, the research reveals how the disciplining effects of gentrification operate through citizenship. It details how in Dikmen Valley gentrification was employed to marginalise and punish those who made rights-based claims to homes and land, while the state offered those who obediently participated in gentrification the reward of legal homeownership and recognition as ‘good citizens’. The study also draws on participant observation and in-depth interviews with people from a diverse variety of backgrounds living in and around the Dikmen Valley Project Area during January to October 2015. Through this combination of methods, the thesis demonstrates that the ways in which gentrification, promoted by the state actors and negotiated by the multiple actors living through it, complicates existing class hierarchies.

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