The space of encounter and the making of difference: The entangled lives of Alevi and Sunni neighbours in Turkey
Gökarıksel, Banu; Secor, Anna J.
The concept of encounter has long been central to a cosmopolitan ethos in which coming together in urban public space is expected to yield tolerance and pluralism. More recently scholars have reworked this concept to account for not only what is potentially transformative in encounters but also how encounters are conditioned by and productive of relations of power and inequality. Our study contributes to this reworking, and to feminist critiques of space and politics, by centring the spatiality of encounter in the entanglement of neighbours. Drawing on our focus group research (2013–2016) with Alevis and Sunnis in Istanbul and Malatya, we argue that difficult questions of difference, responsibility, and power come to the fore in neighbour relations. While our study underlines how Sunni supremacism and Alevi precarity are constituted in the everyday lives of neighbours, we also find that there is a transformational potential in these encounters that is not fully (re)absorbed into structures of Alevi–Sunni difference. We argue that, across the blurry boundaries of home and neighbourhood spaces, the unbidden intimacies of living in proximity (the drift of smells and sounds, the lines of sight that connect balconies and windows, the presence of neighbours at the thresholds and in the spaces of each other's homes) mean that encounters between neighbours both fuel and trouble the marking out of what is shared and what is separate, what is tolerable and what crosses a line. Our study thereby advances an understanding of the space of encounter, the making of difference, and the political and ethical significance of this entanglement.
Gökarıksel, B., & Secor, A. J. (2023). The space of encounter and the making of difference: The entangled lives of Alevi and Sunni neighbours in Turkey. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 48(2), 380-394. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12584
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Acceptance Date||Oct 6, 2022|
|Online Publication Date||Nov 8, 2022|
|Deposit Date||Dec 21, 2022|
|Publicly Available Date||May 24, 2023|
|Journal||Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
Published Journal Article
Publisher Licence URL
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
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