The Discursive Construction of Ethnic Identity : Sulukule Case, Turkey

| January 7, 2014

Special Edition, September 2009,
Language, Culture and Identity in Asia.

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The Discursive Construction of Ethnic Identity: Sulukule Case, Turkey

Nazlı Baykal
Süleyman Demirel University

Nazlı Baykal is an assistant professor in the School of Foreign Languages, Süleyman Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey. Her research includes studies on sociolinguistics, gender specific language, language attitudes, critical discourse analysis, political and ideological discourse.


In this study, the discursive strategies that are employed for the revival of ethnic identities of Romani people living in the Sulukule region in İstanbul, Turkey are investigated. As a result of the ‘gentrification’ process in the region, the residents are trying to make their voices heard by opposing to what they define as an unjust treatment of their human, social, cultural, and historical rights. The arguments put forward for this opposition to the gentrification process are analysed within the framework of discourse-historical approach outlined by Wodak (2001). What local authorities define as ‘urban regeneration’ becomes ethnic cleansing in the words of the residents of the gentrified area. The study is an attempt to combine the notions of architecture with the methods of discourse analysis to emphasize the discoursal and societal effects of a city planning project discussing one more time the multi-disciplinary nature of critical discourse analysis studies.

Key Words: critical discourse analysis, discourse-historical approach, ethnic identity, urban regeneration, gentrification

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Category: 2009