STADIUMS AS A TOPOPHILIC SPACE: A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH ON THE CASE OF HÜSEYIN AVNI AKER STADIUM
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Keywords:Topophilia, Football, Stadium, Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium
The concept of "Topophilia", which includes the meaning of "sentimental connections" people establish with spaces and places, was originally proposed by Yi-Fu Tuan, one of the representatives of the humanist movement. John Bale, a sports geographer, used it to describe this concept as the feelings and values associated with football stadiums. The football stadiums are "topophilic" places with embedded meanings for those who experience them. The aim of this research from this point of view is to evaluate the former stadium of Trabzonspor; the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium with regards to the concept of Topophilia and to analyze the values it left behind. In the research, "netnography" method which is one of the qualitative research designs was used and the data were collected by the "archival data" technique. Also, individual interviews were conducted using the structured interview form. The data of the research has been obtained from the commentaries made from the Facebook accounts of the sampling group determined for the netnography method, on the post of "Can you share a memory about Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium?" and from individual interviews conducted on the basis of the question of "What does Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium mean to you? " The content and descriptive analysis techniques was used in the analysis of the data. The codes on different frequencies have been grouped into 17 categories. One of the leading memories of the Trabzonspor fans about the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium is the games played with Fenerbahçe. In particular, "Trabzonspor-Fenerbahçe match played in the 1995-1996 season on 05.05.1996" has been found to be a memory of traumatic effect on the Trabzonspor fans. In light of the data obtained from the interviews, Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium has been identified as a "topophilic" place with its accessibility, the pride and joy experienced by the fans, its importance in the Trabzonspor's history, its affecting position in people's lives, its characteristic of contributing to the unity and the development of social relations. Stadiums are places that the city and its inhabitants inherit. The demolition of Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium, which has such a characteristic, has caused substantial damage to the sport's history of Trabzonspor and to the city of Trabzon. "Kavak Meydanı", one of the important sports areas of the city, has not only lost the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium but it also looks like an area which the entire memory of the city's sports history has been erased.
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