The Figure of the ‘Urban' Citizen: Comparative Analysis of Citizen Initiatives in the Aftermath of Right to the City Movements in Spain and Turkey

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Anatomy - Large LT (University of Glasgow)
Mine Islar , Centre for Sustainability Studies, Lund University
Ezgi Irgil , Migration Center for Koc University, Koc University
This article aims to produce a comparative analysis of re-politicization of the citizens after Spain’s Indignados movement and Turkey’s Gezi movement from a citizenship framework. The article suggests that claiming the right to the city involves more than issues of access to urban amenities: it is also about claiming the right to participate in the formation and transformation of the city, which positions this right within the larger issue of citizenship. Both movements illustrate how a focus on rights to the city and local environment can create a spillover effects igniting more general protests, concerned with the protection of ecological, civil and political rights, which incorporates smaller strands of these movements, as agro-ecology, slow-food, and water rights movements as its important features. These examples provide reason to analyze the role of right to the city movements as facilitating the re-politicization of the demos and thus the development of an active and participatory citizenship. In this context, this article uses the concept of citizenship to analyze the spaces of re-politicization created by Indignados and Gezi. By defining citizenship as a collective practice rather than a status, it explores the role of the citizen in the framework of a sustainable society and in relation to underrepresented collectives. It questions how these serve as platforms for creative and constructive strategies of social and ecological transformation. The analysis is based on the empirical evidence derived from semi-structured interviews, media analysis and observations during three months of fieldwork in Barcelona and Istanbul. 
  • Islar and Irgil-The figure of the urban citizen-Comparative analysis of citizen initiatives in the aftermath of right to the city movements in Spain and Turkey.pdf (330.1 kB)