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Zeynep Yokmac

Zeynep Yokmac


Turkish Migrants as Urban Scale Makers in Transcultural Cities

(Supervisors: Michael Schönhuth, Trier / Peter Dörrenbächer, Saarland
Mentoring: Valérie Amiraux, Montréal)

The objective of my study is to comprehend the dynamics influencing the role of migrants in reshaping urban space in Cologne, Germany. Specifically, this research focuses on Turkish Germans who have resided in Germany and have established various establishments such as shops, restaurants, cultural centers, and associations, thereby influencing and transforming the urban landscape. Unlike studies that overlook the active involvement of migrants in urban development, this investigation places migrants at the core of the analysis, recognizing them as key contributors to the shaping of urban scales in contemporary cities.
This study seeks to delve into the types of identities and dispositions that Turkish Germans generate, considering them as influential figures on the urban scale. Employing the ethnographic method of in-depth interviews, the research explores the socio-spatial practices of Turkish Germans, aiming to identify dispositions and competencies associated with the transcultural nature of the city. Consequently, it traces the effects of everyday life experiences and exposure on the formation of transcultural spaces.
Drawing on narratives and practices observed in the everyday lives of Turkish Germans, this study reveals how they actively contribute to the development of a transcultural city. Additionally, it explores how they emerge as urban scale makers through their home-making practices, perceptions, and evaluations of city features. Utilizing data gathered from face-to-face interviews with first, second, and third-generation Turkish Germans, coupled with ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Cologne, this research provides an analytical framework for investigating their role in the restructuring of the urban landscape.


Since 2019
Doctoral Candidate at IRTG Diversity
09/2016 – 03/2019
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, MA in Transcultural Studies (Thesis title: Homing Desire and Transcultural Placemaking Process of German Turks in Mannheim)
09/2008 - 08/2013
Bogazici University, Istanbul, BA in Sociology, Double Major in History

Work Experience

12/2014 – 08/2016
Senior Project Coordinator - Political and Social Research Institute of Europe
09/2013 – 09/2014
Researcher – YADA Foundation
02/2012 – 03/2013
Managing Editor - Middle East Journal of Refugee Studies

Conference Presentations

Being Visible in Urban Space: Muslim Migrant Women as Leading Subject in the Cologne Central Mosque
The 21st Nordic Migration Research Conference: New Perspective on Movement, Research, and Society, 17/08/2022 – 18/08/2022, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Territorial Stigmatization: Trauma and Resilience among Turkish Germans in Cologne’s Mülheim District
CESSMIR 2nd Conference: Contemporary Forms of Racism and Discrimination,18/09/2022 – 21/09/2022, Ghent University, Belgium.
Displacement and the Strategies of Sovereign Domination in the Kurdish Region in Turkey
Conference: Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Kurdish Politics, 3/11/2016, Northwestern Buffet Institute for Global Studies, Evanston, USA.
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