Beyond the Turkish Paradox : Local and Translocal Identity Formation of University Students in post-referendum Istanbul
Abstract: In recent years, the country of Turkey has seen both political and economic turbulences. University students frequently were central players in anti-government protest, displaying significant levels of discontent with the status quo. In 2018, the first elections after the constitutional referendum was held, ringing in a new era for Turkey. This research aims to find out, how this new reality affects the identity and identity formation of university students in Istanbul. To do that, the study employs the concepts of social identity and identity formation as well as local and translocal spatiality. For that, an ethnographic study was conducted. The study follows 7 university students from Istanbul through their daily life and processes oral accounts, observational data and artifacts - both from a personal and general context. The analysis reveals, how students construct their identities reflexively in opposition to a perceived threat by a majority identity. Students spatialize their identity both in relation to the local spaces of Istanbul - and translocal spaces employing modern communication tools. The identity of students is primarily contested through the sociopolitical – but also the urban-capitalistic realities of living in Istanbul.
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