By Bulent Gokay
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Extra resources for A Clash of Empires: Turkey between Russian Bolshevism and British Imperialism, 1918-1923
They have frequent contact with the middle-class İzmirlis in public spaces such as the cheap vegetable and fruit bazaars, discount supermarkets, and public transport vehicles. In these common spaces, Kurdish migrants typically work as drivers and cashiers, and they also come to shop. It is primarily through these interactions that the middleclass İzmirlis make their observations and begin to construct a subjective understanding of what they deem to be ‘Kurd’. Thus, it is socio-economic conditions, rather than their ‘ethnic origin’ per se which make it possible for Kurdish migrants and middle-class İzmirlis to share these public spaces.
I have shown that, in this study, the subject of ethnicisation is the middle-class İzmirlis, and the object of ethnicisation is the group of Kurds who have settled in the city since the mid-1980s. The content of this process consists of the stereotypes and labels that are used to identify ‘Kurd’ in İzmir. Combining the subject, object and content of the ethnicising discourse, I can conclude that the research object of this book is the particular way in which the middle-class İzmirlis construct the category of ‘Kurd’ (or ethnicise Kurdish migrants) based on their social relationships with the Kurds who migrated to the city after the mid-1980s.
Rather, it entails the responses of social actors to an assemblage of social structures and social changes, and hence it is always mediated by historical and social factors. In view of this, it is imperative to draw attention to the social mechanisms through which ‘exclusive recognition’ pervades the cognitive world of its subjects, as well the forms in which it has been expressed in social life. Only when this is done can the analysis of ‘exclusive recognition’ shed light on the larger social and historical context within which it is formed.