University of Leicester
2022 Rivas Alonso C PhD.pdf (8.38 MB)

State-led gentrification and time in Okmeydanı, Istanbul: Resisting uncertainties through everyday solidarities

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posted on 2022-05-30, 10:57 authored by Clara Rivas Alonso

Gentrification studies have traditionally favoured space over time. The original contribution of this thesis lays in placing time at the centre of state-led gentrification analysis, which allows me to demonstrate how approaching contested urban spaces at risk of gentrification through the lens of spatiotemporal struggle in, for and through place makes them open-ended, multiple and inclusive. I do this through an ethnography of a deeply contested urban space, the area of Okmeydanı in Istanbul, threatened with a state-led gentrification project and historically subjected to stigmatization and multi-faceted violence. This proposal hinges in the interstices of long-entrenched dichotomies: urban/rural, formal/informal, Global North/South, researched/researcher, everydayness/event, pushing them beyond rigid binaries. I thus propose new vocabularies of engagement inspired by postcolonial and poststructuralist perspectives that allow for an onto-epistemological dislocation.

In the face of (past, present and future) dispossessions, I identify three different analytical perspectives: the assembling of limbos, the synchronizing of waiting and moving on, and resistances as collective negotiation of being available. I operationalize these propositions through a situated reflexive and relational research exercise that holds me to account as much as it exposes the ways dwellers in Okmeydanı do more than just surviving. Thus, I have also reclaimed vulnerability, my own and others intertwined, as a key underlying subject invoked throughout the thesis.

This thesis shows how through the reworking trajectories of waiting different sets of power relations are unveiled. They construct openness out of foretold stories of anticipated endings. I demonstrate how emergent temporalities bring dwellers to cope with institutional and state-produced limbos through their simultaneous position in collective action and everyday solidarities.



Loretta Lees; Gavin Brown

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD