Middle East Studies

Utku Balaban

Research Fellow, EUME-Forum Transregionale Studien
Research Fellow Humboldt University's IGK

Displacement as an Industrial Growth Strategy

Insofar as mass displacement is a major component of state-making and dissolution, it also facilitates new economic relations, as it demarcates spaces of production and human geographies. In this session, Dr. Balaban discusses the economic consequences of the displacement with a reference to the industrial growth in the Middle East and argues that successive waves of displacement of Kurds and Arabs in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, facilitated Turkey's industrial growth after the early 2000s.

Utku Balaban is an associate professor of sociology. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from SUNY Binghamton in 2011 and taught on various campuses in New York and Pennsylvania until 2012. He served as a faculty member at the Department of Labor Economics and Industrial Relations at Ankara University between 2012 and 2017. He was expelled from his position with a statutory decree in February 2017 under the state of emergency. His first book, A Conveyor Belt of Flesh (Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 2010) presents the findings of his dissertation fieldwork on the garment industry in Istanbul, Turkey. In his second book, Social Inclusion Policies in Turkey (Ankara University Press, 2015), Dr. Balaban surveys the current state of social policy in Turkey. As a grantee of the European Commission’s Marie Curie Career Reintegration Grant, he pursued fieldwork on the industrializing cities in Turkey between 2012 and 2016. As a non-resident research fellow of Forum Transregionale Studien and Humboldt University’s IGK Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History (Berlin, Germany), Dr. Balaban is currently working on his new book project on the relationship between Islamism and late industrial development in Turkey, embarking upon the aforementioned fieldwork on industrializing cities in Turkey.