Rendering Responsible, Provoking Desire: Women and Home in Squatter/Slum Renewal Projects in the Turkish Context
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This article is situated at the intersection of urban restructuring, cultural conservatism and neoliberalism in the Turkish context to understand the new subject formations of poor women as they are relocated to high-rise apartment blocks in slum/squatter renewal projects by the prospect of homeownership via long-term mortgage loans. It contributes by showing the gendered effects of urban transformation on poor women as neoliberalism and conservatism interact. It draws upon two ethnographic studies that reveal women's experiences embedded both in neoliberalism and patriarchy. In neoliberalism, women's participation in the informal job market was promoted as they were made responsible for contributing to mortgage payments, and they were brought into consumption as they were provoked the desire for good homes via furnishing, and in patriarchy, women's traditional roles in social reproduction were demanded in spite of their new roles and responsibilities. The study ponders women's differentiated negotiations with patriarchy which resisted radical challenges when the family and the home framed women's new responsibilities and desires. The rising conservatism rooted in Islam in Turkey, which prioritizes the family over individual women, created the conditions for it.