Article | Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007 | Swapping Identities in Sulukele

Swapping Identities in Sulukele
Semra Somersan: Dept. of Sociology, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
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Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007
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This paper will focus on an aspect of an ongoing research in Sulukule; Istanbul; to try to understand how and why many Roma living in this neighbourhood disclaim their ethnic identity; emphasizing instead; their religious identity.

Sulukule is the oldest and most continuous Roma settlement in this part of the world according to historians; a neighbourhood along the historical Byzantine city walls where a group of Roma lived over the centuries; a significant proportion of whom had made a profession of playing; singing and dancing to the middle classes in Istanbul. Though largely peripheral to the life of the city within whose borders they lived and worked; and largely ignored if not discriminated against by the city dwellers; occasionally they “attracted the attention” of the local politicians; the military and/or the municipalities.

Here I will focus on the dynamics of identity formation processes among Sulukule Roma; and the exchanging of Roma-“Gypsy” for “Moslem” identity while simultaneously deliberating on why religious belonging; fairly new though it may be; overrides ethnicit

Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Semra Somersan
Swapping Identities in Sulukele

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Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Semra Somersan
Swapping Identities in Sulukele
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