skip to content

Department of Social Anthropology



My PhD research investigates the impact of migrant workers on the informal recycling economy in Istanbul. Over the past decade, the arrival of foreign migrants into the city’s vast unregulated recycling sector has altered social and political relations between workers and those they encounter on the job or in the city. In particular, it has challenged the ways in which “hosts”—those who were in the city before the foreign migrants arrived, including government organisations— consider who or what should profit from the trade in recyclable waste. The project provides empirical insight into how the presence of migrants alters understandings of what is right and wrong in urban economies, particularly in sites of political and social conflict. Analytically, it contributes to debates on waste, exchange, moral economy, and work.

Prior to the PhD, I completed an MPhil in Social Anthropology at Cambridge (with Distinction), a Master’s in Ethnomusicology at Istanbul Technical University, and a BA in English Literature at Concordia University. A previous ethnographic research project addressed the impact of a state-led urban renewal project in Sulukule, Istanbul on the cultural lives of young residents. Publications from this research include a chapter in Landscapes of Music in Istanbul: A Cultural Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion (Transcript-Verlag 2017).


Economic anthropology, work, material exchange, social and commercial relations, urban politics, the state, morality, migration, informality, waste, Turkey


2017 "Poorness is Ghettoness': Urban Renewal and hip-Hop Acculturation in Sulukule, Istanbul". Landscapes of Music in Istanbul: A Cultural Politics of Place and Exclusion. Papadopolous, A and Duru, A. (eds). Transcript-Verlag. pp. 85-112.

Research Title: Unjust profit: moral economies of recycling work and migration in urban Turkey
Supervisor: Dr Andrew Sanchez
 Kevin  Yildirim (2019)

Contact Details

Email address: 


Department Group: