University-Industrial Complex as a spatial fix for local development: Massification of Higher Education in Turkey

Doğru H. E.

GEOFORUM, vol.149, no.1, pp.1-10, 2024 (SSCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 149 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2024.103965
  • Journal Name: GEOFORUM
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), CAB Abstracts, Environment Index, Index Islamicus, PAIS International, Political Science Complete, Pollution Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-10
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Turkish higher education has been massified in a fast-paced reform wave through widespread proliferation of public universities in less developed cities, accompanied with the state-led student loan expansion since the early 2000 s. From a geographical-historical materialist lens, this paper elucidates the duplicitous character of the massification project, arguing that rather than democratizing the access to higher education, this transformation prioritized the benefits of local capital accumulation in the newly emerging urban centers to the detriment of the educated youth, entrapping the latter in unemployment, underemployment, and indebtedness, rendering them a diversely skilled relative surplus population. Based on two-year long qualitative research, the paper identifies three intertwined youth enclosures that have functioned as constitutive mechanisms of a spatial fix, forming what this paper conceptualizes as the university-industrial complex: physical enclosure of the university youth in emerging production sites as disposable cheap labour force, temporal enclosure of the graduates in long-term debt relations with the state, and finally social enclosure of the youth for their reproduction in predatory local economies of non-metropolitan cities.