The Paradox of the Shopping Mall in Ankara: The Restrictive But Inclusive Quasi-Public Space of ANKAmall
Sociology Middle East Technical University Turkey,
As a result of the mushrooming growth of shopping malls all around the city, the capital of Turkey, Ankara, has gained a new landscape in which public space acquired different attributes than its predecessors. Like the cases in the U.S., as well as Europe, the primacy of security and the rational organization of the space are among the significant threats leading to the emergence of a homogeneous visitor profile of shopping malls in Ankara. However, the visitor profile of the shopping malls in Ankara is far from being homogeneous. In the context of Ankara, the mall does not simply mean a pursuit for the lost community life, as it is argued to do in the U.S., but rather it represents the emergence of a new center of social life which is rival to the urban public spaces. Although the existing economic inequalities outside the mall are reshaped through the relations of consumption within the mall by creating a high self-control mechanism especially over lower income visitors, it does not prevent mall to transform into being a plural material habitus. Resting on a qualitative research which was conducted in the biggest mall of the city with people from different income, gender and age groups in the summer of 2007, in this paper I aim to focus on the conflicting dynamics of the emergent quasi-public space of ANKAmall.