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Title: Building Politics: Urban Transformation and Governance in Cairo and Istanbul
Authors: El-Kazaz, Sarah
Advisors: Beissinger, Mark
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Cairo
Urban Renewal
Subjects: Political Science
Middle Eastern studies
Urban planning
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The question motivating this dissertation asks: How do transforming practices of urban governance impact modes of political contestation in developing cities? The dissertation addresses this question in two steps. First, it asks: how do neo-liberalization and globalization transform practices of urban governance in Cairo and Istanbul? Second, it examines how the intended and unintended political consequences of urban governance and planning shape the formation of new modes of political struggle in the city's neighborhoods. The dissertation tackles these questions through a qualitative study of six neighborhood-level urban rejuvenation projects led by state and non-state actors in Cairo and Istanbul. I argue that neo-liberalization and globalization have led to a new form of politicization of the redesign of the urban built environment at the fragmented scale of the neighborhood. Developing cities are witnessing a surge of investment in the rejuvenation of the built environment by a variety of international and local non-state and state actors. These diverse actors invest in rejuvenation because they see the redesign of urban neighborhoods as a potent political tool to grapple with the vacuums and paradoxes produced through neo-liberalization and globalization. They expect urban redesign to produce political outcomes as expansive as molding societal behaviors, reordering power hierarchies and constructing "imagined communities." Comparison across Istanbul and Cairo revealed that levels of state strength and city-level institutional legacies impacted how urban redesign was mobilized as a political tool. In neo-liberalizing Cairo, non-state actors mobilize urban redesign as a political tool that replaces the role of a retrenched state as a governing organization. In Istanbul, a strong state and its private sector partners mobilize urban redesign to bypass local democratic institutions and entrench an authoritarian regime that differentiates between adjacent neighborhoods to accommodate conflicting global audiences. Studying the contention surrounding these projects, I trace how urban dwellers mobilize informal tactics, claims to historical knowledge and the materiality of the built environment to resist both the disruptions to daily livelihood and intended and unintended political consequences of rejuvenation. Ultimately, I argue that studying the politicization of urban redesign and the struggles it produces is crucial for understanding the mechanisms underlying mass urban protests, like those in Istanbul's Gezi Park.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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