CMES Seminar: (Un)lonely Impulse of Delight - Rhizomated Subactivism and the Lessons from the Gezi Park Protests in Turkey
Presentation by Ilkin Mehrabov (CMES and Department of Strategic Communication).
The mass mobilization and the collective political engagement of the Gezi Park protests of 2013 came as a surprise for many in Turkey. What was new about these large-scale demonstrations was not only the sheer number of people taking place in them (more than 3.5 million), but rather the expansive range of the protesters. This presentation looks into the Gezi events through a research question of How does the empirical conceptualization of Gezi Park protests in Turkey helps to scrutinize the heterogeneity of the actors and the repertoire of activist practices within similar protests in the Middle East? and investigates the protests through the lens of a new concept: rhizomated subactivism.
Rhizomated subactivism is defined as an instantaneous phase, where the realm of the online merges with the realm of the offline, and is coined in accordance with the concepts of rhizome (a term borrowed from biological sciences by French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari) and subactivism (derived by Maria Bakardjieva and based on the writings of Ulrich Beck).
Using data, obtained from visual content analysis (of approximately 19 hours of documentary films; 101 hours of unedited video footage; and 8,000 photos of the protests), interviews (two accounts of the electronic correspondence and long-distance open-ended interviews as well as five cases of face-to-face semi-structured interviews conducted with activists of different social movements and political organizations), surveys (KONDA consultancy survey (4,411 face-to-face interviews) and Istanbul Bilgi University’s online questionnaire, filled in by 3,008 participants during June 3-4, 2013), and observations of protest-related Facebook pages, the presentation addresses the various aspects of the proposed concept in relation to the Gezi Park protests – i.e., the five main tenets of rhizomated subactivism which are defined as the spatial, cognitive, connective, temporal and emancipating dimensions.
Consequently, the presentation aims to provide a novel way of analyzing multi-faceted dimensions of protest movements in the Middle East in general, and in Turkey in particular – thus, contributing into a more nuanced understanding of contemporary protests and demonstrations in the Middle East, offering further theorization on their present and possible future outcomes.
Ilkin Mehrabov is a senior lecturer at the Department of Strategic Communication, interested in computational social sciences – and conducting quantitative and qualitative research and teaching on variety of topics, e.g., political economy of communication, social movements and digital activism, algorithmic propaganda and psychological defense, and public relations. Originally from Azerbaijan, he obtained his PhD in 2017 from the Department of Geography, Media and Communication at Karlstad University, Sweden, with co-supervisors from the departments of Computer Science and Information Systems. He previously obtained a BS degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and an MS degree in Media and Cultural Studies, both from the Middle East Technical University, in Ankara, Turkey.
The talk is held at CMES, Finngatan 16 in Lund. If you are not able to attend in-person, there is an option to attend via Zoom. Please register here for Zoom attendance: https://lu-se.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5Ukc-qopjwrH93gNs7oxG90yDx1v8uGUFqm
This event is part of the CMES seminar series spring 2024. For more information, visit the CMES website.