Transnational social fields and the experience of transit migrants in Istanbul, Turkey
Shepherd, Jordan David
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Throughout history, Turkey has been a stop on numerous migration routes. The political implications of the current state of transit migration through Turkey have been analyzed, but little work has focused on the migrants themselves. My project focuses on a diverse group of transit migrants based at an Anglican parish in Istanbul. They interact within multiple transnational social fields to cope with the challenges of migration. These migrants must struggle with separation from family and friends, earning an income, finding ways out of Turkey, and other issues. To face these challenges, they rely on the resources of three transnational social fields: family and friends outside Turkey, their national community within Turkey, and the international community of governmental and non-governmental aid organizations. My analysis of the migrants' experience in Istanbul will highlight the human side of transit migration and the agency of a group of people often considered passive or dependent. Hopefully, my research can provide a useful perspective for aid organizations and others who confront issues of forced migration.