9: Negotiating Identity in Urban Space: Everyday Geographies of Syrian Students in Istanbul


The cities of Turkey are now host to the world’s largest community of Syrian refugees. The metropolitan city of Istanbul provides the ideal context to study the relationship between space and identity to understand this transition in an urban context. Students are one of the most dynamic groups experiencing these changes because they use different places, create new sense of spaces with new lifestyles, transform their own identities, are integrated into a shared education system and socialised by interacting with different groups. This chapter examines the everyday geographies of Syrian students to shed light on the co-construction of Syrian student identities and sense of space in Istanbul. I draw on analysis of 30 in-depth interviews and participant observations were conducted with young migrants over 18 years old between August 2019 and March 2020 in Istanbul. Key points considered include segregated, judicial and private spaces as spaces of exclusion, and comfort zones, cooperation spaces and open spaces as the spaces of inclusion.

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