Quotidian boundaries and how to circumvent them: an inquiry into a Syrian community in İstanbul
Şanlı, Ayşe (2017) Quotidian boundaries and how to circumvent them: an inquiry into a Syrian community in İstanbul. [Thesis]
The 2011 Syrian Revolution quickly evolved into a state of civil war, which resulted in mass migration primarily to the neighboring countries. The official number of Syrians under temporary protection in Turkey has recently exceeded three and a half million, with more than 560.000 temporarily protected Syrians registered in Istanbul, the city hosting the largest number of Syrian inhabitants in Turkey. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, combining extensive participant observation and in-depth interviews with adults at a local community center initiated by displaced Syrians in Istanbul, this research aims at contributing to the understanding of how quotidian boundaries, far from the physical borders of the nation-states, affect the everyday lives of displaced Syrians living in Istanbul. The research first provides an analysis of the making of legal, social, and symbolic boundaries that affect the relations of Syrians with the Turkish state as well as with ordinary Turkish citizens. It, then, focuses on the forms of organization among the participants of the community center in order to understand the prominent ways in which displaced Syrians could challenge, surpass or circumvent these boundaries. The findings of the fieldwork suggest that the processes of making- and (un)contesting boundaries coincide at this community center on a daily basis: While this community center plays instrumental, socio-psychological, and cultural roles in circumventing the quotidian boundaries, new boundaries emerge at the periphery of the community center, and legal boundaries remain mainly uncontested at a collective level.
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