Spatial segregation and class subjectivity in Turkey

Ayca Alemdaroglu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Drawing on ethnographic research in an upper-class district in Turkey, this article examines social and spatial experiences of young low-wage service workers who travel daily back and forth between their homes in low-income neighbourhoods and their jobs in gated communities, upscale shopping malls and corporate offices. The paper argues that the significance of upper class districts or gated communities for urban inequality lies not in the sites themselves, nor the lifestyles of their elite inhabitants as commonly treated in the literature, but rather in the ways in which they relate to the outside and outsiders. Within this framework, the paper analyses the district’s effect on urban spatial segregation and urbanites’ sense of place in society. While resentment and reaction to inequalities and upper class customers are prevalent in young workers’ narratives, workers’ class subjectivities are also marked by a sense of mobility and liminality between the upper middle classes in their work district and their families, friends and neighbours back home. This sense of socio-spatial ‘in-betweenness’ is reinforced by being young, hence a sense of temporal liminality between youth and adulthood. The study contributes to the understanding of urban inequality at the intersection of spatial, emotional and temporal experiences of urbanites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-622
Number of pages20
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 4 2017


  • Class subjectivity
  • Turkey
  • liminality
  • low-wage service work
  • spatial segregation
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies


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