“Bourgeois Piety On the Exurban Periphery: Gated Communities and New Muslim Elites In Istanbul”
Jeremy F Walton, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, New York University
In recent years, anthropologists of religion have become increasingly attentive to the transformative relationship between new arrangements of public and private space, on the one hand, and practices and discourses of piety, on the other. From suburban mega-churches to transnational Islamic banking, contemporary formations of piety both presuppose and constitute new social and political geographies. Walton relies on fieldwork conducted in the gated community of Beylikdüzü, located on the outskirts of Istanbul, to broach a broad ensemble of questions concerning the relationship among urban space, class, and Islam in Turkey. Most generally, how does the site of the exurban gated community constitute a crucible for the forging of a sociability and collective identity that is both bourgeois and Muslim? What practices and self-conceptions coordinate Islam and class on the urban periphery? Finally, how do different scales and ideologies of space—the intimacy of the bourgeois home, the gendered and kin-based social networks within the community, the ideologically figured pious homogeneity of the neighborhood, and the potentially treacherous heterogeneity of the city as a whole—inflect, ground and authorize Muslim identity and Islamic practice? In pursuit of these questions, Walton analyzes a variety of ethnographic material, including interviews conducted with neighborhood residents and mass media speculations about class, urbanity and Islam in Istanbul more generally.
This event is part of the Environmental and Urban Studies Colloquium