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Neoliberal Turkish gothic: urban anxiety and national trauma in Ceylan Özgün Özçelik’s Inflame (2017)

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

Publication date1/08/2018
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Event14th Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association : Gothic Hybridities - Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 31/07/20183/08/2018


Conference14th Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


The impact of neoliberalism on urban life has transformed cities since the 1980s into national centres of the global capital market, at the expense of undermining the life of urban dwellers. The situation is no different in Turkey whose geopolitical significance has been reinstated in the neoliberal age through Istanbul’s image as a global city. However, the anxieties of the Istanbulites concerning the city’s urban sprawl have increased tremendously over the last decade. Particularly, during the last decade, the suffocating density of concrete buildings, the diminishing green spaces within the city and the destruction of historical neighbourhoods have become issues of social and political controversy.
The Gothic, preserving its longstanding title as the dark underside of modernity, continues to engage with the deep-rooted anxieties of societies in the neoliberal age. Linnie Blake considers neoliberal Gothic texts as reflective of ‘the monstrous dislocations that free market economics have inflicted on selfhood and society’. Concordantly, this paper explores neoliberal Gothic in Turkey as a form of dissident commentary on the repercussions of neoliberalism in Istanbul. I discuss Ceylan Özgün Özçelik’s directorial debut Inflame (2017) which addresses socio-political issues in Turkey such as anti-government protests, overwhelming urban gentrification, neoliberal authoritarianism and state-run media using Gothic tropes of haunting, claustrophobia, and inherited trauma. I argue that neoliberal Turkish Gothic registers Istanbul as a site of haunting, a claustrophobic and also an agoraphobic space, which holds a mirror up to national traumas inflicted on Turkish society by neoliberalism.