Performing alternative networks of trust and solidarity in the aftermath of Gezi protests

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 14:45
Oral Presentation
Baran Alp UNCU, Marmara University, Turkey
Square movements have mobilized in response to two major crises of neoliberalism and representative democracy. While rejecting insecurities, exclusions, and inequalities imposed by the governmentality model of neoliberalism, activists have criticized incapacities and unresponsiveness of conventional political actors and institutions in terms of representing interests and concerns. They merge new social movements’ demands for liberty, autonomy, self-expression and authenticity with economic and political justice concerns, particularly those expressed by the Global Justice Movement. In doing that, protestors have formed inclusive, participatory, decentralized and leaderless protest camps where a plurality of individuals express their indignation and prefigure alternative networks of trust and solidarity through performative practices while preserving diversity. In that regard, square movements signify the formation of a new subjectivity and an alternative politicization based on which activists engage in envisioning and prefiguring a future that they aspire. Even though these protests have disappeared as quickly as they have emerged, alternative networks of trust and solidarity persist in different forms. This paper analyzes formation of alternative networks of trust and solidarity during and after the Gezi Protest. Based on 65 in-depth interviews and 30 months of participant observation, I argue that alternative networks of trust and solidarity building on cognitive, emotional, and relational transformations at the Gezi encampment continue to exist in the aftermath of the protests. I show that even though the Gezi Protest itself phased out, the new subjectivities and alternative relations of trust and solidarity have not vanished. Rather, they have become embodied in the post-Gezi protests and everyday life practices such as food collectives, city gardens, citizen initiatives and issue specific movement networks, and these carry out the task of imaging and shaping an alternative future.