Four Space One Woman: Proxemics on the Household Space for the Turkish Muslim Cypriot Women during the Ottoman Period

Sencan E. E.

CTAD-CUMHURIYET TARIHI ARASTIRMALARI DERGISI, vol.10, no.20, pp.195-220, 2014 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 20
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.195-220
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This study deals with the daily life of women in traditional communities within the household spaces. Women are important indicators of the changes in a community, particularly in traditional ones. Thus, they are considered as an important indicator in observing the changes in traditional communities. Based on this idea, this study aims to understand the daily life of Turkish Muslim women of the island of Cyprus in a household space by observing their living spaces and the changes occurred in it over the period of time covered by the study. The space where the women spend their time from dawn to dusk has been analyzed by focusing on the household space and its immediate surroundings. As a contribution to the previous studies concerned with the relationship between the women and their household spaces, this study exploits the term of proxemics developed by Edward T. Hall which is essentially a concept of distance analysis. To benefit from the visuality and from seyahatnames (travel books), some photographs and drawings were also used to better understand the intimate and social life of Turkish Muslim Cypriot women living in traditional urban houses and its annexes. The study analyzes the social life of Muslim Cypriot woman living in traditional urban houses by using the distance analysis approach. The year of conquest of the island in 1571 by the Ottomans, determines the starting point of the study and extends to the period of Ataturk in 1930's where the structural changes occurred in the life styles of the islanders in line with the modern standards. The major finding of the study is that, the process of change in the household space where women lived in triggered the process of change in their lifestyles. Additionally, the two processes went hand in hand and influenced each other in the period of time covered by the study.