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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Whose Democratization? Periods of transition and voices from below in Turkey

Kivanc Atak

Type: Working Paper
Year: 2012

Turkey’s experience with democracy, at least in its procedural terms, is one which has been discontinuous thanks to repeated military interruptions to civilian rule. Since 1946, Turkey has experienced coups on an almost periodic basis, in the name of protecting the Kemalist foundations of the regime from counter-hegemonic currents however defined. These recurrent takeovers by the armed forces created a vicious circle for the survival of democracy in the country. In the meantime, various contentious players became considerably influential at different points, despite pervasive repression. By contrast, the specific junctures of transition to and resumption(s) of democracy were largely monopolized by military-bureaucratic elites leaving little room for grassroots participation. Still, public demonstrations for democratization were not totally absent, and at times articulated by various civil society and social movement actors. In the last decade, the military’s political tutelage seems to have weakened, yet this did not suffice to save Turkey from being a democracy ‘in danger’, as the authoritarian face of the state took a new form under subsequent AKP governments. Today, the continuous battle of re-democratization and de-democratization is perpetuated in Turkey’s contemporary politics and society, perhaps most notably in the realm of the Kurdish question, while democratic contributors ‘from below’ are trying to increase their salience in a patronizing state.

EUI SPS - Cosmos Working Paper 2012/08

2012WP08COSMOS

News

19/12/2017

10 Fully funded 4-years PhD positions in Political Science and Sociology, for the AA. 2018/2019, Scuola Normale Superiore

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The grant is for 4 years. it is open to students of all nationalities. Coverage of research expenses (conferences, summer schools, research periods abroads) is provided.

13/12/2017

Call for Paper: Conference “1968-2018, fifty years after: Where is the social movements field going?”

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Taking the 1968 anniversary as a stimulating moment for reflection, this conference seeks to provide space for looking at the implications of that period on social movement research as well as addressing a number of key questions in current social movement research.

04/12/2017

Martin Portos Garcia wins the ISA's Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists

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The International Sociological Association has just announced the list of the winners of the Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists engaged in social research, amongst which Martin Portos Garcia - post-doc fellow at COSMOS

Publications

Journal Article - 2017

Repertoires of knowledge practices: Social movements in times of crisis

Donatella della Porta and Elena Pavan
Starting from the assumption that knowledge becomes all the more important for movements in times of crisis, as old structures are challenged and new ones envisaged and proved feasible, the purpose of this paper is to suggest ways to expand the toolkit of social movement studies in order to empirically address knowledge practices as a meaningful part of contemporary progressive activism.

Journal Article - 2017

Keeping dissent alive under the Great Recession: no-radicalisation and protest in Spain after the eventful 15M/indignados campaign

Martín Portos
Traditional theories of collective action would predict that, after a triggering event, the trajectory of a wave of protest is determined by the institutionalisation–radicalisation tandem. Based on the Spanish cycle of anti-austerity and against the political status quo protest in the shadow of the Great Recession, this article contends with this approach, as a clear trend towards radicalisation is never observed as the cycle unfolds. An alternative interpretative framework is developed to understand protest trajectories when collaborative inter-organisational strategies prevail.