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Über dieses Buch

This edited volume addresses various aspects of social and political development in Turkey and the latter’s role within a global context. Paradigmatically and theoretically, it is situated in the realm of communication and/for social change. The chapters thread together to present a fresh and innovative study that explores an array of issues related to the Gezi protests and their aftermath by scholars and activists from Scandinavia, Turkey and India. Through its thorough analysis of the government’s repressive policy and the communication strategies of resistance, during the protests as well as in the dramatic on-going aftermath, the volume has wide international and interdisciplinary appeal, suitable for those with an interest in globalization, communication and media, politics, and social change.



Chapter 1. In the Aftermath of Gezi: Introduction

In the light of the last 2 years’ dramatic development in Turkey, the aftermath of the popular protests that started at Gezi Park in Istanbul in the summer of 2013 seems to be fading. What was celebrated as a sign of democratic maturity in a modern, prospective EU member state now may rather appear as an almost futile attempt to articulate visions of a pluralist political sphere in an increasingly repressive society. This introductory chapter argues, however, that Gezi was a liminal moment whose long-term implications remain to be revealed. In the prism of perspectives on Gezi that are presented in the anthology, this chapter dwells particularly on one reference point, which in the aftermath has attained renewed significance: the Öcalan crisis of 1998, which in an unexpected way were to impact both the Kurdish question and the relations between Turkey and the EU.
Oscar Hemer, Hans-Åke Persson

Chapter 2. What Emerged in the Gezi Park Occupation in Istanbul?

What Emerged in the Gezi Park Occupation in Istanbul? Asu Aksoy examines how Gezi Park in Istanbul was turned into a space where politics and being political subjects were reinvented as protestors trying to stop the demolition of the park met with massive and deadly police crackdown. Through their detourning actions of the urban space of Gezi Park, the occupiers, during the Summer of 2013, injected a completely unexpected handling of that space, challenging the dominant spatial logic of the state. In reconfiguring this particular space, the neoliberal logic that sutured the entire city edifice was made visible. People from all walks of life and political divides occupying the park, and subsequently in neighbourhood forums across the city, discovered their hitherto obscured qualities, such as being able to engage with each other, in solidarity across identity and political divides. AK Party’s cultural politics, which was seeking to resurrect a long-demolished Ottoman garrison building at the heart of modern Istanbul’s symbolic centre, could not prevail at that time.
Asu Aksoy

Chapter 3. The Politics of Protest

This article is an attempt at examining the making of a new political subject in Turkey through a study of the rhetoric and counter rhetoric generated in the course of the Gezi Park protests. President Erdogan’s language during the protests was polarizing and a sharp differentiation was made between supporters of the AKP and those who opposed its policies in the course of the protests. A new heterogeneous margin therefore came into being represented by those frustrated about the government’s attempts to impose conservative values on a secular society. Subsequently identified as marginal in Erdogan’s ‘New Turkey’, this article argues that it is interesting that this new ‘public’ was in a sense the result of changes within Turkey since the turn of the century.
Anita Sengupta

Chapter 4. Violent Communication and the Tyranny of the Majority

In recent decades, research on human violence in the social sciences and humanities has focused on debunking the notion that there is such a thing as senseless violence. All types of violence are said to carry meaning and violence ought therefore be considered a form of communication. The anthropologist David Graeber suggests instead that violence, including structural violence, is predicated on a reduction of meaning. According to Graeber, the charging of violence with meaning is an asymmetrical affair: the perpetrators need not bother with understanding their victims; the victims exert themselves to comprehend even the smallest gesture of the perpetrator. Consequently, the retention of power through violence produces systemic stupidity, which is enacted by bureaucrats, the police and other state institutions at all levels. The idea of systemic stupidity will be tested out with the case of Gezi and coupled to a discussion of the tyranny of the majority in order to show that the state monopoly on legitimate violence is not a sufficient precondition for systemic stupidity.
Ronald Stade

Chapter 5. Alone in the City: Gezi as a Moment of Transgression

This chapter attempts to make sense of the ongoing struggle to name/define and give specific direction and purpose to the Gezi protests, an outburst of collective action and mass mobilization that took Turkey aback and prompted a violent and uncompromising response from an increasingly authoritarian government. It examines the emergence and brief career of the events, situates them within (and outside) the context of both Turkey’s protest culture and, more generally the current phase of Turkey’s post-islamist politics and puts forward an interpretation of Gezi as an almost solitary moment disrupting the ‘time’ of conventional politics in a society that is deeply divided in its understandings of democracy, representation and protest.
Spyros Sofos

Chapter 6. At the Intersection of Competing Modernizations: Gezi as a Litmus Test for the Public Sphere

One way of understanding recent turmoil in Tukish politics is to look at it from the perspective of its peculiar modernisation with a telos of reaching contemporary civilisation. It has been societal transformation in the search for a new collective identity. Thorough interaction with traditional/Islamist view of modernization emerged two alternative visions of body politic. The first is the vision of the ‘authentic nation’, anticipated by the AKP. The second is the ‘reflexive nation’, which found its embodiment during the Gezi Protests. The resemblance between the visionary and alternative authentic version occurs in their adaptation of authoritarian politics fitted into the simple modernity. The reflexive interpretation challenges both by denouncing their authoritarian approaches as well as demanding more of individualism, freedom and participation.
Hikmet Kırık

Chapter 7. It is Too Dangerous to be an Individual in Turkey

This chapter argues that key traits of the social networks that drove the 2013 Gezi demonstrations faced a tall order not so much in relation to the heavy-handed response imposed by then PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but vis-à-vis the reach and influence of the traditional networks that permeate Turkish society. Turkish society is shot through with both highly diverse and highly salient subnational group identities. Coupled with a concomitant tradition of a highly partisan executive state power, this has led to the advent of strong traditional networks that can vouch for the basic security, socio-economic prosperity, and recognition of identity of its network members. The highly individualized connective action of the Gezi social networks were unable to do just that. Or so the chapter argues.
Jakob Lindgaard

Chapter 8. Gezi in the Center and Periphery the Protests as Communicated by the Turkish Media

This study investigates the role of English-speaking Turkish media in accounting for the protests in Taksim. We applied a combined quantitative and qualitative methodology to five highly accessed online newspapers, with the aim of exploring how events were reported to the international audience. The resulting picture reveals a variety of media discourses, dominated though by a lack of analyses of the motivations for the protest: Gezi is not portrayed as having potential to be a fully democratic, national mobilization. References to other contemporary social movements are made instrumentally, in accordance with the newspaper’s editorial line. We conclude that while mainstream media did not transmit the “message” of the protest beyond Gezi, social networks have reconnected the center and the periphery of the social movement.
Erliza López Pedersen, Marco Zoppi

Chapter 9. The Gezi Movement Under a Connective Action Framework: Enhancing New Forms of Citizenship via Social Media

This paper seeks to understand the role of social media in the enhancement of participatory practices and behaviors focusing on the case of Gezi protests in Turkey. We focus on the role that social media played in shaping the dynamics that the movement unveiled and which appear to challenge the long standing social and political norms and values of the political establishment in Turkey. In doing so, we look at the posts that appeared on facebook and twitter between June and September 2013. Doing a discourse analysis we categorize them into different streams: dissemination of news within the country and internationally, solidarity from within the country, international solidarity and support, calls for participation, opinionated and oppositional messages. We argue that the Gezi movement is a case of connective action where social media became a tool for bringing to the forefront a form of active citizenship that urges for greatest democracy and civil rights within the country.
Stavroula Chrona, Cristiano Bee

Chapter 10. Activist Citizenship and the Dramaturgy of Social Change

This chapter addresses two issues: Firstly, in considering the Gezi uprising as one of many recent uprisings seen across the globe, the nature of contemporary citizen engagement is explored. Isin’s concept of ‘activist citizenship’ is the point of departure (Isin 2009). Isin emphasizes that activist citizenship opens up to an understanding of social change emphasizing the creative, proactive enactment of social actors. Secondly is explored the connection between short-term mobilization and long-term social change. Uprisings are not stand-alone occurrences and by exploring Gezi Park from the perspective of social movement theory, recognizing and incorporating reflections about the role of social media in social movement, the notion of ‘dramaturgy of social change’ is proposed as an analytical approach to capture the dynamics of an activist citizenship. The urgency as well as the deeper societal challenges of political matters are unveiled.
Thomas Tufte

Chapter 11. Epilogue: #Occupygezi Movement and Right to the City

This Chapter is based on the synthesis of the earlier chapters available in this volume. It seems that the contributors of this volume seek to answer five main questions revolving around the Gezi Protests: why it happened; what happened; where it happened; when it happened; and how it happened. Almost all the authors draw our attention to the social media, which help the protestors personalize the collective action in their life-worlds and generate a connective action, which seems to be the common denominator of all the recent global social movements ranging from Tahrir to Occupy Wall Street movement. Rather than repeating what the contributors of this volume have already said, this chapter will try to contribute to the discussion by concentrating on two threads, namely the right to the city, and the loss of trust to the government.
Ayhan Kaya


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