Festivalising Difference: Privatisation of Culture and Symbolic Exclusion in Istanbul
Title: Festivalising Difference: Privatisation of Culture and Symbolic Exclusion in Istanbul
Author: YARDIMCI, Sibel
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2007/35; Mediterranean Programme Series
Material equality is necessary but not sufficient for social integration within the city. Cultural recognition is equally important in assuring comprehensive participation of marginal groups. The issue is complicated in larger conurbations due to the variety of cultural producers/consumers. Especially in spatially segregated areas cultural exchange becomes crucial in preventing disconnection between social segments. Otherwise, different subject positions/identities/cultures do not condense into a participative urban culture, but their multiplicity divides the city into multiple cities that are juxtaposed but disconnected. Some groups/histories/memories are then allowed in the official culture more often than others; and institutions with legitimacy within the cultural sphere may obtain the privilege to decide who would be allowed, whether their intervention turns out to be deliberate or not. This paper aims to discuss these issues through the study of selected recent developments in the post-1980 cultural scene in Istanbul. Among these are: the expansion of events organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the mushrooming of art galleries and publishers supported by banks, successive openings of universities and museums owned by large capital groups and the multiplication of smaller scale artistic initiatives. All these institutions/events provide room for international cultural exchange, link the city to global artistic networks, and ascribe a cultural capital/world city status to Istanbul. The interaction between the field of culture and the city deserves nevertheless a more critical approach, which goes behind the common-sense celebration and sheds light on the social implications involved in the recent transformation of the cultural sphere.
Subject: urban culture; festivals; public space; symbolic exclusion
Type of Access: openAccess