Accepted paper:

Inequality on the road: mapping the divisions on the highway that connects the continents


Berna Yazici (Bogazici University)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

Built in the 1970s as a sign of progress, The Bosphorus Bridge which connects the Asian and European sides of Istanbul has become one of the primary visual signifiers in campaigns to position Istanbul as a global-city. Slogans such as "Let's meet where the continents meet" foreground the bridge's (hence the city's) uniting capabilities. In contrast to these public representations, I turn my ethnographic gaze to the morning traffic jam on the highway that run through the Bridge where thousands commute to work each weekday. What emerges in the daily experience of and passing encounters among the commuters and workers on the highway is not connections but deep divisions which reflect inequalities in a global urban economy. Focusing on the hierarchies among the commuters and workers as well as those excluded from this ethnographic scene, I ask how the anthropology of roads offers invaluable tools 1) to illuminate the disjuncture between public authorities' representations of cities and roads and the experience of dwellers/commuters and 2) to challenge analytical accounts of neoliberal cities which suggest that social inequalities are reproduced exclusively through segregated urban environments.

panel W064
Thinking about roads, movement, and environment