Capuling during and after Gezi - the Formation of a New Identity of a Young Liberalized Generation in Turkey.

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Seminarsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Claudia SCHUETZ, University of Innsbruck, Department for Sociology, Austria
The Gezi protests in Istanbul in 2013 presented a historical, nation-wide upheaval against the increasingly oppressive and conservative course of the Turkish government. On basis of an empirical qualitative study in Turkey in 2014 with Gezi activists and Gezi movement initiatives such as neighbourhood forums, this paper dicusses analyses of the reasons for the protest and its social impact. Here, two particular features are defined: Firstly, the socio-structural examination of a young Turkish generation of protestors as main support group; secondly, the framing process of a culture of Ҫapulcuas a main explanatory approach of the protest movement.

While Turkey offers a long tradition of protest, the Gezi rebellion was a young protest movement, being formed by a highly educated and secular generation. The young protesters were reversing the swearword "Ҫapulcu" (looter), with which the Turkish prime minister tried to denounce the protestors as dregs of society in the first place, to the central self definition of the rioters. The word became synonymous for those young revolting people in Turkey, who do not feel attached nor represented by their state and its leading parties. Ҫapulcuthus does not only represent a young generations´ new identity but is rooted in their shared notion for a political culture of participation from below.

The paper argues that the Gezi protests represent a socio-economically lost young Turkish generation, which was given the opportunity to find and frame a collective identity. This identity is not only expressed by creative, humorous and artistic action practices, but also by a political culture of participation, which was established during Gezi. The guiding question is: What societal needs triggered the identity and the modes of action of the Ҫapulcu and what is the movements outcome?