Not the Future,Not the Past Only the Present… the Case Study of Young Activists in Turkey

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Seminarsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Demet LUKUSLU, Yeditepe University, Turkey
The dominant paradigm of political participation of young people in Turkey since the 1980s defining youth as a silent and apolitical, disengaged category was suddenly replaced by a paradigm of engaged and political youth with the Occupy Gezi Movement in May-June 2013. This occupy movement and the high percentage of its participants being students and young professionals surprised the commentators. It is important to note, however, that even before the Gezi Park movement, there were instances like protests against the internet censorship and high school students’ protests demonstrating that this is not an apathetic generation. Based on ethnographic research, it is argued that there are common characteristics between these movements of young activists: unlike traditional political movements, they are preoccupied with the present (not the past or the future). The discourse of the young activists on the other hand draw substance from everyday life and popular culture and use humour actively. This paper aims to discuss how the young activists in Turkey chooses to create a new “politics” focusing on the present.