The Social Structures of Neoliberal Authoritarianism: The Case of Turkey
The case of Turkey will be examined in light of a variety of social structural factors, such as demographic changes, rapid urbanization, class struggles and culture wars, power structure and relations of domination, and finally the dialectical effects of resistance movements against authoritarian neoliberalism. External factors such as global financial crises, the ongoing wars in the Middle East, etc. will also be considered.
The rise of authoritarianism around the world has drawn the increasing attention of social theorists and sociologists for more than a decade, with Turkey becoming one of the most clear examples. This seminar explores Turkey’s gradual shift towards authoritarianism over the last decade so as to discuss to what extent this shift is part of a global drift toward authoritarianism and also to what extent, in Turkey’s case, the drift is a function of Turkey’s own history.
1. An understanding of the social structures involved in the rise of authoritarianism
2. An understanding of the political situation in Turkey today, particularly post-AKP period
3. An understanding of Turkey’s drift toward authoritarianism in relation to the global drift in that direction
Conditions for Participation:
1. Complete the required assignments (watch video-lectures, interviews with guests, documentaries and/or films; do readings and others where required)
2. Write a weekly brief critical assessment of the assigned material
3. Participate actively in the weekly seminar discussion
Detailed description of the seminar:
The seminar is divided into thematic weekly sessions over a period of 10 weeks. In each session, we will take a detailed look at a different aspect of Turkey’s shift towards authoritarianism. Each session will include a mixture of different tools (short video lectures, readings, expert interviews, documentaries etc.) and the students will be asked to participate in a weekly discussion session, do the required assignments and be prepared to discuss assigned material. Detailed seminar material will be shared later.
1. Introductory session: Explanation of the rationale of the seminar
2. Neoliberalism, Populism and the Authoritarian Drift in Turkey
3. How to Interpret Turkey's Political Transformations after AKP?
4. Turkey's Migration Regime and its Particularities
5. The Changing Social Stratification in Turkey
6. The Pivotal Social Policies underlying AKP's Populism
7. The Gezi Movement as Part of Social Movements
8. The Diversity in Social Justice Principles around the Gezi Movement: Mediocrity of Lower Classes vs. Meritocracy of White Collars
9. Conservative Authoritarianism and Transformations of Gender Regime
10. War, State of Emergency and the Rise of Necropolitics
Short description of the moderators:
Cem Özatalay, is an IIE-SRF fellow, a University in Exile Visiting Research Scholar at The New School for Social Research, and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Galatasaray University. Özatalay completed his PhD at EHESS (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales) in Paris. His research areas are social inequalities, social stratification, sociology of domination, economic sociology of capitalism, neoliberalism, morality and economy, art and economy. Like more than five hundred signatories of the Peace Petition, he is currently under trial in Turkey with the accusation of “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. https://galatasaray.academia.edu/Cem%C3%96zatalay
Bediz Yılmaz received her PhD degree from the French Institute of Urban Studies (University of Paris VIII) with a dissertation on the social exclusion of forced migrants in a slum neighbourhood of Istanbul. Her research interests include migration, urban/rural poverty, spatial segregation, social exclusion, gender and social policies. After working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Administration at Mersin University for more than 10 years, she has been dismissed for having signed Peace Petition of Academics for Peace (January 2016). Between February 2017-October 2018 she was Philipp Schwartz Fellow at the Institute of Migration Research and Intercultural Studies, University of Osnabrück, Germany. Her current research focuses on the connection between forced migration and forced labour in agricultural sector. She currently lives in Mersin, Turkey.