Urban Politics And The Work And Labour Processes Of Architecture: Survey Research With Young Architect-Workers In Turkey

Esra SERT, Gülşah AYKAÇ, Besim Can ZIRH


Among the actors of architectural production, architect-workers are increasingly facing neoliberal urbanization and its socio-ecological consequences, and they are also exposed to exploitative work and labour conditions. In this article, we argue about a direct relation between neoliberal urban politics, production of urban space, and architects’ work and labour conditions based on an online survey with a group of young architect-workers under 40 years of age. The survey findings reveal that neoliberal urban politics anticipating capital accumulation in state-led, anti-participatory, and aggressive urban interventions have transformed architects as precarious and replaceable workers in the last decade in Turkey. Policies in higher education, increase in student quotas and the unexpected fluctuations in the construction sector accelerate this process through which the precariousness of labour for architects has sharply deepen. More specifically, our participants spontaneously form two generations, in reference to the year of 2013 as a turning point, and female participants and those who graduated in/after 2013 were more precarious than male participants and those who graduated in/before 2012, whereas university background provided no privilege. Consequently, participants stressed disbelief and dissatisfaction in their work; a vast majority planned to pursue another profession abroad. We hope that our research will contribute to architects’ collective efforts in pursuing ethical urban space production processes in the post-pandemic era.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4305/metu.jfa.2021.1.2


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