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Accepted Paper:

Global memory narratives and local martyrs: dehistoricization and new spaces of agency in an ethnography of Turkish former revolutionaries and their children  
Lorenzo D'Orsi (University of Foggia)

Paper short abstract:

Through the memories of Turkish revolutionaries and their children, the paper considers global memory narratives not only as removal of cultural frames but as different moral economies and reflects on how they intertwine with local logics, produce new emotions in public and in private discourses

Paper long abstract:

Global frames like trauma, healing-through-telling, Transitional Justice are ubiquitous in interpreting memory and violence. Anthropology showed how these narratives reduce pain to intra-psychic facts, removing history and reifying subjects into victims. Through an ethnography carried out in Istanbul on the memories of Turkish revolutionaries and their children, crashed by 1980 military-coup, this paper considers global narratives not only as a medicalization of society but as new moral economies and aims to reflect on how they intertwine with local logics, produce emotions in public discourses and affect intergenerational transmission.

In Turkey, marginal groups challenge official history by proposing agonistic memories in a highly politicized memory-field. Leftists promoted counter-memories through narratives of martyrs and fighters that are opposed both to official history and to global memory-frames threatening the "us" underlying these memories. Nevertheless, global narratives not merely de-historicize but also embed pain in other moral-scapes where political violence (included armed-struggle) is rejected. Although new narrative rewrite family dynamics interpreting as traumatic the parents' silence tied to fighter values, for children trauma represents a cultural code in a global youth-scape allowing to build trans-historical bonds within and outside Turkey. The comparison with other subaltern Turkish memories shows how Leftists' marginality doesn't result only from State repression. When new narratives de-historicize, they also de-reify historical oppositions, drawing new "us" and building emotional bonds with people considered as "others". By drawing new boundaries of individual/collective action, these narratives disrupt previous hegemonic-subaltern dichotomy, break social indifference, promote new space of agency in a historically politicized memory-field.

Panel P058
Rethinking the concept of moral economy: anthropological perspectives
  Session 1