Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Date: 27 April 2022

International Symposium - Istanbul through the Eyes of Sociology

Beykent University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Department of Sociology (English)
27-28 April 2022 

Istanbul is a city unique with its historical periods, nature, geographical location, global position, and offering great living opportunities. However, with the megacity’s urban sprawl that makes it hard to determine where its borders start and end, as well as with its industrial volume that has already exceeded the limits of sustainability and a population approaching twenty million, it is increasingly becoming uninhabitable for many people. As one of the prominent examples of planetary urbanization today, Istanbul is a social space that, as a topic, will not be exhausted no matter how much it is discussed and debated with its animals, plants, streets, buildings, neighbourhoods, sea, islands, parks and people, with its migration flows, by being a junction of different identities, a place of artistic inspiration, by being on one hand a location with mild and pleasant climate and on the other hand facing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic with intensity comparable to a global scale.

When we add the undisputable reality of the risk of an upcoming big earthquake at any time to all these attributes of Istanbul, this city becomes a multi-layered, complex, multidimensional theme that social scientists revisit and examine repeatedly. Discussing the various strata of Istanbul also means mapping a constantly evolving network of relationships and structural features by focusing on certain temporal and spatial frameworks, and being able to partially recollect the moments in history.

At the International Symposium “Istanbul Through the Eyes of Sociology”, we plan to actively participate in the wide discussions about Istanbul on one hand and to debate the most crucial issues of Istanbul from the perspective of social sciences on the other. Based on our idea that Istanbul's problems related to survival such as environment, earthquakes and health, that are strengthened by the interdisciplinary contacts between regional and urban planners, natural sciences, engineering, and medical sciences, should be also discussed by social sciences. We think that the following topics and research strands, starting with the title “Istanbul and…”, can give readers a clearer idea about our symposium call.

Istanbul and…

1) Ecology and environmental studies 

Istanbul has long been one of the cities which exceed the limits of sustainability and where the effects of the Anthropocene age are most intense. In addition to the approaches focused on the detachment of the city from nature due to its structure, recent rapid transformations have, in the scholarly literature, brought to the fore the theory of “urbanization of nature”. In this respect, Istanbul is talked about not only because of the loss of its green spaces, but also by becoming a city of the spaces that used to be previously associated with nature, and of living creatures who, in their own way, have started to live here. Industrial waste, daily garbage produced in households, marine pollution, air pollution, excessive “concrete-ization” of Istanbul, and flora and fauna with which we share the city can be listed among the topics of this subheading of the symposium. 

2) Migration Flows 

Istanbul, whose population has been shaped by waves of migration for generations, according to TUIK data (the data provided by Turkish Statistical Institute) today hosts a population approaching 16 million. When taking into account the international migrants and transiting vibrant population, the estimates go beyond that. Although we have noticed that some people left Istanbul after Covid-19 and moved to the countryside, this trend is far from possibly being a movement that will transform the population of Istanbul. In this respect, migration flows leading through Istanbul and population movements generated by migration are a candidate for being one of the important topics of discussion at the symposium.

3) Health Concerns and Pandemic 

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the social distancing practice we hear most about in daily life and the measures taken due to the pandemic have transformed our use of urban space. Spatial reorganizations have been made in the places of trade and mobility such as public transport, parks, cafes, supermarkets, local farmers’ markets and bazaars, and in shops of entrepreneurs as hairdressers/butchers/pharmacies. We know from the teachings of history that outbreaks of contagious diseases may deeply change the configuration of cities and urban life. In this context, the changes and transformations experienced by the dwellers of Istanbul due to Coronavirus outbreaks belong among the crucial topics of this symposium.

4) Art Inspirations

Istanbul has been the subject of inspirational creativity in music, sculpture, painting, theatre, cinema, poetry over and over again. It creates its own art, organizes a grand art biennale, and further hosts many festivals, exhibitions, and artists. This city is constantly being represented, interpreted and experienced through art. Sometimes it inspires emotions, sometimes it becomes the main actor, sometimes it flows on the background. Our symposium devotes this research strand to social science studies and researches focusing on works of art that are located in Istanbul, happening in Istanbul and which have passed through Istanbul. 

5) Earthquake 

One of the most important issues in Turkey are earthquakes. The pain of the earthquakes we experienced from Erzincan to Adapazari, Van to Izmir is still within us. Istanbul is one of the cities that has experienced major earthquakes in its history, and today using the term "risk" for a near-future earthquake is equivalent to ignoring the reality. While this phenomenon is a research subject of many disciplines both in terms of preparation for an earthquake and finding solutions for saving people and property in its aftermath, it is usually discussed by geologists, seismologists, civil engineers, and the rescue rangers. We think it is important and necessary to consider this subject also from the perspective of social sciences.

6) Urban Security and Crime

Istanbul is a settlement that should be addressed in terms of crime, violence and security with its large population, cosmopolitan structure, commercial centre, and intersection of international routes. The "fear of crime", which is the determinant of the state of feeling safe, and its differentiation according to social groups, as well as the cultural, legal and spatial reasons of these differences specific to Istanbul, remains an important research area. The symposium also wants to include social science studies in Istanbul that try to understand the impact of crime patterns and of their attributes on everyday life.

7) Institutional Networks 

Both being the former imperial capital and being an important centre in economic, industrial, legal and artistic infrastructure during the Republican period makes "Istanbul's institutional history" a separate research subject. While the network of intermingled relations drawn by the institutions separates the city from other cities, it also reveals various historical and current interactions from the point of view of its urbanites related to access, employment and legal transparency. In this strand, we plan to discuss the functioning/disruptive institutions of Istanbul.

8) The Historic Spirit of the City 

The narratives of “Old Istanbul”, together with a current vibrant agenda, continue to create the image of Istanbul. This process is being articulated within a discourse that separates multiple urban layers of various historical periods and determines a uniform urbanite for the urban use, and at the same time creates an image of “the idealized old” against the planned urban transformation. Discussing the city's old images is valuable in that it provides a basis for comparison from the perspective of urban revival. Therefore, another leading topic of the symposium is “Old Istanbul”.

The symposium also includes a “Special Session” with international participation, in which priority and current urban issues regarding Istanbul will be discussed from the perspective of social sciences. In this session, which is planned to be held in English, Istanbul will be discussed with the participation of international scientists who have worked on urban studies and/or on Istanbul.

The Symposium, which has in its Scientific Board the academicians from various scientific disciplines both from Turkey and also from the abroad, meets the criteria of the "International Scientific Meeting" of the Inter-University Board (the meeting where scientists from different countries are on the scientific board and the presentations are accepted by undergoing a scientific preliminary examination /a preliminary peer-review/).

Abstracts of the papers accepted and presented at the symposium will be published in an abstract booklet. Further, the best contributions of several presenters will be published after a careful evaluation in a book of the Symposium proceedings. The abstracts should be submitted to the symposium secretariat by March 25, 2022 with the Application Form which is included in the text of the Symposium call. Participants are expected to present their papers orally within 20 minutes. The language of the symposium will be Turkish, while the international Special Session will be held English. The symposium is planned to be held online through Zoom Meetings and/or in a hybrid form (both live and online). 

We hope that the Symposium Istanbul Through the Eyes of Sociology will be an exciting and productive meeting for all social scientists.

Important Details about The Symposium

Organizing Institution of the Symposium: 

Beykent University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology (English)

Organizing Committee:

Akile GÜRSOY, Prof. Dr., a faculty member and a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology (English) 

Abdurrahman YILMAZ, Assoc. Prof. Dr., a faculty member and a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, chairman of the Department of Sociology (English)

Nihan BOZOK, Assoc. Prof. Dr., a faculty member and a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology (English)

Gül Selin TÜRKYILMAZ, Assoc. Prof. Dr., a faculty member and a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology (English)

Marcel MECIAR, Assist. Prof. Dr., the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology (English)

The Symposium Secretariat (communication and abstract submission):

Gönül KARABOLU, Research Assistant, gonulkarabolu@beykent.edu.tr

Nur KÜÇÜKDOĞAN, Research Assistant, nurkucukdogan@beykent.edu.tr

Important Dates: 

Symposium Date: April 27-28, 2022

Deadline for submission: March 25, 2022

of the presentation abstract

Announcement of the Symposium Program: April 15, 2022

Members of the Scientific Board (in alphabetical order):

Abdurrahman YILMAZ, Assoc. Prof. Dr., chairman of the Department of Sociology (English), Beykent University

Ahmet YAŞAR, Assoc. Prof. Dr., Department of History, Beykent University

Akile GÜRSOY, Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology (English), Beykent University

Ayşen ÇELEN ÖZTÜRK, Prof. Dr., chairman of the Department of Architecture, Eskişehir Osmangazi University

Bilge KARBI, PhD., Department of History, Beykent University

Burak KESGIN, Assist. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology (Turkish), Beykent University 

Burcu TEKAÜT ÇAL, Assist. Prof. Dr., chairwoman of the Department of Sociology (Turkish), Beykent University 

Elif ÇOLAKOĞLU,Prof. Dr., Vice-Dean at the Gendarmerie and Coast Guard Academy

Gökhan SARI,Assoc. Prof. Dr., advisor at Penta Group Ltd.

Gül Selin TÜRKYILMAZ, Assoc. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology (English), Beykent University

H. Murat GÜVENÇ, Prof. Dr., Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Kadir Has University 

H. Yaprak CIVELEK, Assoc. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology, Anatolian University 

İlhan TEKELI, Prof. Dr., Department of City and Regional Planning, Middle East Technical University, professor emeritus

Jelena PETRUCIJOVA, Assoc. Prof. Dr., Department of Health and Social Studies, University of Ostrava, Czechia

Levent ÜRER, Prof. Dr., Department of Political Science and Public Administration, İstinye University 

Marcel MECIAR, Assist. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology (English), Beykent University

Mehmet BOZOK, Assoc. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology, Maltepe University

Mehmet KURUM, Assist. Prof. Dr., Gendarmerie and Coast Guard Academy

Melih ÇOBAN, Assist. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology, Marmara University

Merve GÖKNAR, PhD., California State University - Northridge

Murat DARÇIN,Prof. Dr., Department of Industrial Engineering, KTO Karatay University

Murat ALKAN, PhD.,Chairman of the Department for Education and Training of the Public Order Presidency, General Commandership of Gendarmerie

Nevin ÇEKİRGE, Prof. Dr., Department of Architecture (Turkish), Beykent University 

Nezihe BAŞAK ERGIN, Assist. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology, Giresun University

Nihan BOZOK, Assoc. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology (English), Beykent University

Oğuz MAKAL, Prof. Dr., Department of Radio, Television and Cinema (Turkish), Beykent University

Özge ULUĞ YURTTAŞ, Assoc. Prof. Dr., Beykent Üniversitesi, Public Relations and Advertising, Head of the Department.

Pınar KARABABA DEMİRCAN, Assist. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology (Turkish), Beykent University

Roberto BRICENO-LEON, Emeritus Prof., LASCO (Venezuela), Social Sciences Lab. 

Rabia Ebrar AKINCI, Assist. Prof. Dr., Department of Anthropology, Istanbul University 

Sema Erder, Prof. Dr., Political Science and International Relations, Marmara University, Professor Emerita

Sevinç GÜÇLÜ, Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology, Akdeniz University 

Tuba TOPÇUOĞLU, Assist. Prof. Dr., Department of Sociology, İstanbul University

Wendy Wiseman, Dr.,  College of Letters & Science, Department of Religious Studies, University of California Santa Barbara.

Yüksel KIRIMLI, Prof. Dr., Department of Anthropology, Istanbul University

Zeynep CELIK, Prof. Dr., New Jersey Institute of Technology, College of Architecture and Design