Nouveaux riches of the city of minarets and skyscrapers: neoliberalism and the reproduction of the Islamic middle class in Istanbul
Öncü, Ahmet and Balkan, Erol (2016) Nouveaux riches of the city of minarets and skyscrapers: neoliberalism and the reproduction of the Islamic middle class in Istanbul. Research and Policy on Turkey, 1 (1). pp. 29-45. ISSN 2376-0818 (Print) 2376-0826 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23760818.2015.1099780
We focus on the middle class to help better understand the peculiarities of contemporary Turkish society in relation to the dominant neoliberal mode of capital accumulation. We depict processes of cultural reproduction of the middle class in order to provide an account of an on-going social formation driven by the emergence of an Islamic bourgeoisie. We revisit the debate on conceptualizing the middle class and present some of the major findings of our survey of middle class households in İstanbul in a comparative manner to specify differences and similarities among the ‘new’ laic and Islamic middle class factions that have benefited economically, socially, and culturally from the neoliberal regime. Based on our survey, we suggest that in each faction a new middle class reflecting neoliberal values and lifestyles emerged and separated itself from the rest. Thus, although they have had different ideological and cultural pasts and orientations, both the laic and Islamic factions of the new middle class converged into a new status group as the nouveaux riches of the neoliberal landscape.
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