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Wealth in Istanbul

By Esther Cha

In “Money Makes Us Relatives- Women’s Labor in Urban Turkey” author Jenny White discusses how the area of Istanbul has undergone changes throughout history and how their migrant population of this modern transnational city fares. I stayed with a friend for the entire week and as she and her family are pretty well off, I didn’t get to see the gecekondu areas at all. Even though I didn’t know the language I felt comfortable as I was with my friend and the most I got to see of how migrant working-class people lived was when we walked the streets to pass time and the one time we took the bus for a “cultural experience.” From my perspective, through my friend, I must admit that I got to see the rosy side of the city. Workers staffed the shops and even the homeless people out on the streets late at night seemed to be well-off enough to leave passersby alone.

Istanbul, being a transnational city, was full of transnational influences from the decked out Starbucks on the shores of the Bosphorous to the golden arches of McDonalds and KFCs situated right in the middle of Taksim Square. Still a critical geographical point in a global scale, Istanbul is also being transformed into a transnational consumer society.

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