Karakayali, Serhat

(Institut für Soziologie, Martin-Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg)

The Spirit of Gezi: Emergent Norms and Subjectivities in a State of Exception

In the last few years, a sequence of protests and uprisings occurred across the planet from the student’s movement in Chile, to the Egyptian revolution, the Spanish indignados, Occupy Wall Street up to the Gezi Park protest in Turkey. Despite their respective singularity these events seem to reveal new practices and forms of political subjectivity. The paper focuses on three aspects by analysing the recent Turkish case, the Gezi Park protests. Firstly, it explores what the authors call the “process of recomposition of people”, which is connected to the emergence of new subjectivities and social practices, and eventually to the emergence of new norms, as indicated by the pervasive reference to the “Spirit of Gezi”. Secondly it discusses the phenomenon of emergence by examining infrastructures and practices of “communing”, which created what many participants of the protests lived as a transgressive experience. Thirdly, the authors investigate the affective dimension of the Gezi protests. The paper looks at both, the breakdown of a regime of fear and by interpreting accounts of “happiness” expressed by the participants through a Spinozian theoretical framework.


Selected publications: Colonial Modern: Aesthetics of the Past, Rebellions for the Future (2010; ed. with Tom Avermaete and Marion von Osten); Das Staatsverständnis von Nicos Poulantzas: Der Staat als gesellschaftliches Verhältnis (2010; ed. with Alex Demirovic and Stephan Adolphs); Gespenster der Migration: Zur Genealogie illegaler Einwanderung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (2008).