A 21st Century Protest “Repertoire”: Istanbul's Gezi Commune and the Affective Dynamics of Urban Social Mobilization
This dissertation represents a social and cultural analysis of the Istanbul protests of 2013. Known popularly as the Gezi Park protests, this Occupy-like movement began on 28 May 2013 as a small-scale resistance by environmentalist groups. Over the next two-weeks, it evolved into a self-sustaining and self- governing encampment, which drew individual and groups from different backgrounds and with different ideological viewpoints. Based on field research and interviews as well as a reflexive interrogation, the dissertation approaches the Gezi Park protests as a new or reimagined protest repertoire with roots in the 1871 Paris Commune. The 21st century“commune repertoire” represents the practice of building an heterogeneous community held together by the emotions and affect generated by the creation of the encampment at the heart of a sprawling post-modern metropolis: it is the embodiment of a collective yearning for a more humane city and demands to maintain the urban commons. Framing the investigation of the 2013 protest against the history of the Justice and Development Party’s neoliberal policies and its impact on the city of Istanbul, this dissertation brings sociological theories of collective action into dialogue with the newly emerging literature on the role of affect, memory studies and critical urban geography.
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