Saraçoğlu, C. et Bélanger, D. (2021). Governance through discipline in the neighbourhood: Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens in urban life. The Canadian Geographer, 65(4), 463-475.
In this paper, we contend that the regulation of refugees by means of discipline is not limited to camps; it also takes place within the context of urban life. This is particularly relevant for Turkey, where only 1.5% of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees live in the camps while the rest are dispersed across Turkish cities. Our fieldwork conducted in the city of İzmir indicates that the processes of governing refugees extend into the neighbourhoods through “informal” disciplinary techniques deployed by citizens. The disciplinary techniques could take various forms, such as socio-spatial distancing and corporal violence. The discipline in the neighbourhoods sets limits on the Syrians’ collective presence in the city and inculcates the possible results they could face if they attempt to breach these limits. The disciplinary actions of the host community unfold in the context of the Turkish state’s legal regulations and discursive strategies that circumscribe Syrians to a specific political position relative to the state and, by extension, to the citizens. The process of disciplining refugees in the neighbourhoods depoliticizes Syrian refugees by obstructing their collective will to contest their precarious status and the exploitative working conditions.