This article deals with the question of how perceptions of history adhere to space and focuses on one of many neighborhoods in Istanbul being haunted by the legacy of informal land tenure. The hills of the megacity have borne witness to industrialization, mass migration, and socialist anarchy, all of which have contributed to land squatting and the iconic gecekondu (squat) architecture. However, what had served as a signifier of the tradition of local organization among domestic migrants from the 1950s is now being destroyed by so-called urban renewal projects leading to either displacement or a vicious circle of poverty. As a result, the current housing problem in Istanbul illuminates the residents’ coping strategies that are paradoxically intertwined with memories of past events in the area. To grasp the temporal experience of the neighborhood in question, I argue for the importance of narrativity, and the practice of history-telling in particular, in undertaking an ethnography of history.
"City of Rebels: Considering Migrant History-Telling in an Ethnographic Inquiry of a Neighborhood’s Past,"
Narrative Culture: Vol. 9:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/narrative/vol9/iss1/7