Deniz Yonucu

Wednesday, 14 October 2015, 5.00 pm - 6.30 pm |
Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

War in the City: Violence, Counter Violence and Sectarian Polarisation in Istanbul's Kurdish and Alevi Neigbourhoods

Deniz Yonucu

(Istanbul / EUME Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung 2015/2016)

Chair: Kader Konuk
(Universität Duisburg-Essen / Member of EUME)

Drawing on an extensive field-work conducted in a working-class neighborhood of Istanbul, predominantly populated by Alevis and Kurds, between 2010-2012 and 2014, Yonucu will discuss the ways in which the Turkish government’s recent sectarian language and its militarist spatial control practices contribute to the militarization and radicalization of the youth living in these neighborhoods. Yonucu does not approach the government’s emerging sectarian language in Turkey as a return to “old” divisions and disagreements within the tradition of the Islam; rather, she contends that the intensification of sectarian language in Turkey is symptomatic of contemporary capitalist state formations, which are based less on an ideal of inclusion than on one of exclusion, security and policing. Accordingly, discussing the processes and relations that transformed Istanbul’s working-class neighborhoods populated by Kurds and Alevis into “low intensity conflict zones,” the presentation will elaborate on the following questions: Is it possible to think about a police regime that not only goes beyond the state police but that also includes counter-police policing actions? Can the provocation of violence in general and of anti-state violence in particular be considered a form of governance? If so, how, why and in what ways does the instigation of counter-state violence contribute to the state security regime and the management of populations?

Deniz Yonucu
received her PhD from the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University in 2014. Her background is in anthropology and sociology, and her work draws substantially from critical legal studies, critical criminology, postcolonial studies and political philosophy. Her research focuses on anti-terror law, the criminalization of ethnicized and racialized working-class youth, sites of urban segregation and violence, and legal and extra-legal policing/security practices. She holds two MA degrees in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and in Sociology from Boğaziçi University. Funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Middle East Research Competition of the Ford Foundation, her dissertation, titled, “Operations Of Law And Sovereignty From Below: Youth, Violence And Disorder In Urban Turkey,” focuses on Alevi populated working class neighborhoods in Istanbul and analyzes the complex and constitutive relationship between law, violence, crime and sovereignty in Turkey. She has published a number of articles and opinion pieces related to these areas of research.