Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationHarvard U.
Grant numberGr. 10124
Approve DateApril 8, 2021
Project TitleKarakus, Ilkim (Harvard U.) "An Ethnography of Care: Grassroots Politics, State-formation, and Urban Marginalization in Istanbul, Turkey"
ILKIM KARAKUS, then a graduate student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in April 2021 to aid research on “An Ethnography of Care: Grassroots Politics, State-formation, and Urban Marginalization in Istanbul, Turkey,” supervised by Dr. Ajantha Subramanian. As urban margins oscillate between varying degrees of state presence and absence, sustaining a life in the city increasingly demands relying on alternate networks of care to cope with unemployment, infrastructural deprivation, state neglect or excessive regulation. If care is simultaneously provided in place of and against the state, this requires incorporating care as a crucial dimension of the predicament of urban marginality. This research responds to this demand in an urban margin in Istanbul, Turkey, where residents use ‘revolutionary politics’ as a local framework to navigate forms of care that circulate in the neighborhood. In addition to defining contours of communal care to fill the state’s void, local understandings of ‘revolutionary’ also guide the types of care residents demand, accept, or refuse from several governmental agencies. Understanding care not only as an ethical commitment to the wellbeing of the other, but also as a power-laden claim about what constitutes wellbeing, this research investigates primary sites where care and the ‘revolutionary’ come together. In exploring acts of care as indexes of competing claims about what life is, how it should be, and by whom it is to be governed, this research aims to reveal emergent forms of urban governance.