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Center for Metropolitan StudiesÜlker, Riza Baris

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Riza Baris Ülker


Center for Metropolitan Studies (CMS)
TU Berlin
Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, TEL 3-0
10587 Berlin


"Entrepreneurial Practices of Immigrants from Turkey in Berlin"

In exploring the flexible practices, strategies and disciplines associated with transnational capitalism and the new modes of subject making, Aihwa Ong concentrates on Chinese managers, technocrats, professionals and particularly entrepreneurs in the Asia Pacific region in her book Flexible Citizenship (1999). According to her, political rationality and cultural mechanisms continue to deploy, discipline, regulate or civilize subjects in place or on the move under the conditions of transnationality. In her formulation, although these subjects are increasingly able to escape localization by state authorities, they are never free of regulations set by state power, market operations and kinship norms. Hence, in the new forms of subject formation the strategies of capitalist exploitation and juridico-legal power are related to modes of governmentality that is associated with state power and culture.

Taking Ong’s analysis as a springboard, the proposed project intends to explore why entrepreneurship and in particular “ethnic entrepreneurship” have been emphasized and promoted at different political levels for the future development of Berlin since the late 1980s and particularly beginning of 1990s. The industrial orders in Berlin -one dominated by large autarchic corporations and the other dominated by decentralized small and medium scaled enterprises- go hand in hand with the urban policies to protect core economic sectors, to expand public-private partnership in different economic sectors and to promote coordination and decentralized self-regulation. For policy makers, the generation of “ethnic entrepreneurship” is mostly regarded as a solution to the increasing rates of unemployment among immigrants, cost of social welfare policies and integration of immigrant populations to the German society.

However, this basic assumption neglects a crucial question, i.e. what is revealed and concealed with the notion of “ethnic entrepreneurship”. The proposed project will try to examine this question deriving from the case of immigrants from Turkey in Berlin. Therefore, the project aims to highlight how individuals are constituted as “ethnic entrepreneurs” and what are the consequences of this construction in Berlin. To put it differently, how individuals are made subjects (being subject to someone else by control and being tied to his/her own identity by self-knowledge) within the neo-liberal context of Germany, where competitive, active, responsible and cooperative subjects are seen as the main building blocks of well-being? In this context, the project gives attention to an approach on the subject and object relationship, in which an art of government takes the “ethnic entrepreneur” as its object through knowledge production and construction of space. As a result, the proposed project focuses on a genealogy of “ethnic entrepreneurship” and production of space in Berlin deriving from industrial, urban and social policies.

Lebenslauf / Curriculum Vitae


September 2004-…    
Central European University, Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology   
September 2001-July 2004    
Middle East Technical University, MA in the Department of Sociology

October 1996-June 2001       
Marmara University, BA in the Department of Political Science and International Relations


Teaching Assistant for the Key Issues in Social and Cultural Anthropology, in the Central European University, at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (September- December 2006)

Research Assistant in the Marmara University Research Centre International Relations (March-September 2004)

Seminar on Globalization and Diaspora between Middle East Technical University and Berlin Frei University (June-July 2003)

Research Assistant in the project of Fatma Müge Göçek (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and Ayhan Aktar (Marmara University, Istanbul) about “Hybrid Globalization of the Middle East: A longitudinal analysis of business, politics and the state in Bursa silk cloth production, 1981-2001” (May 2001-May 2003)

Human Rights Education Program for Southeastern Europe, 1st annual in Greece (17-27 September 2000)

Helsinki Citizens Assembly Istanbul Office (August – 15 September 2000)

Research Assistant in Anthropological Fieldwork of Akile Gürsoy from Yeditepe University (July- August 2000)


Scholarship from the Trans-Atlantic Graduate Exchange Program “Race, Ethnicity and Migration Studies (REMS)” in the Howard University, Washington DC, (January - April 2007)

Ph.D. fieldwork grant from Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD),(October 2005 -August 2006)

German Course Program at Goethe Institut , Göttingen / Germany, (August –October 1999)



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