Continuities of Culture in the Cosmopolitan City: Accessing London/Turkish Spiritualities in Commercial Cultures through Accidental Clues
In this paper I will present preliminaries for a study on the intricacies of London/Turkish life, developing from material clues gathered on a single day of preliminary ethnographic research on Kingsland Road and Stoke Newington Road, Hackney - showing that already on the basis of very little evidence assumptions about bounded ethno-religious migrant community can be challenged. Randomly encountered artefacts such as a cartoon-character themed ayran pot from a Turkish supermarket, the grandfather clocks in the prayer hall of Süleymaniye Mosque, a guide to the ritual prayer (namaz) bought from a Turkish/Islamic book shop or a 17th "Turkey upholstery" chair displayed in Geffrye Museum of English Interior Design on Kingsland Road tell stories about how both breaks and continuities in space and time are established through spiritual and commercial practice. Spatial references - between metropolises such as London and Istanbul, between neighbourhoods such as Hackney and Anatolian village solidarities (hemşehrilik), and transcendent and immanent spiritual places such as the Âlem-i Misâl, local mosques, cinematic imaginations and the Kaabe in Mecca - intersect and reflect back on each other, creating material and spiritual cosmoses that at once define identities in relation to place and always reach out beyond them. As do temporal references - the clues were gathered on the opening day of the London Olympics, the first Friday of Ramazan, market day on Ridley Road. The aim of this paper will be to set out the parameters to investigate continuities of culture in the cosmopolitan metropolis as continuities of time and continuities of space, as lived in practices and coagulated in artefacts. I will conclude that this points to a lived case of ‘ordinary cosmopolitanism’ (Skrbis/Woodward 2007) that is nonetheless far reaching.
Paper prepared for the Global Studies Association conference 10th to 12th July 2013 at the University of Roehampton
Global Studies Association Conference The Cosmopolitan Ideal: Challenges and Opportunities, 2013-07-10, 2013-07-12, Roehampton