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An imaginable community: the material culture of nation-building in early republican Turkey

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Zeynep Kezer


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This paper examines the spatial strategies used to achieve national integration in the formative years (1923-45) of the Turkish Republic. During this critical period, despite a severe shortage of human and material resources, Turkey's leaders undertook ambitious infrastructural projects, including the construction of roads, railroads, bridges, institutional buildings, and the implementation of uniform urban plans, which were meant to transform the face of the country. These projects generated webs of uniform and centralized services, which enabled the state to assume a more active role in shaping the daily life of its citizens. Crucially, they also forged a standard recognizable material culture throughout Turkey. I argue that this extensive tangible scaffolding of public works, which introduced new types of spaces and practices, reworked the rhythms and routines of daily life, and created new networks of accessibility across the country, was instrumental for cultivating people's ability to relate the local with a larger national geography, thus rendering the nation an imaginable community.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kezer Z

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Year: 2009

Volume: 27

Issue: 3

Pages: 508-530

ISSN (print): 0263-7758

ISSN (electronic): 1472-3433

Publisher: Pion


DOI: 10.1068/d10907


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