Accepted paper:

The Emotional Social Life of a Law: Tracing the Many Lives of Law No. 3413 in Turkey

Authors:

Berna Yazici (Bogazici University)

Paper short abstract:

Tracing the social life of the 1988 dated Law Number 3413 in Turkey, I highlight how a specific law acquires a life of its own; gains contradictory emotional meanings and generates multifaceted relations between different social actors and the state.

Paper long abstract:

How do emotions get attached to a specific piece of legislation? What kind of formal and informal emotional relations can a law generate among differently situated social actors and the state? What kind of emotions can actors express in relation to a law? What role such appeals to emotions play in the legal claims individuals pose to the state? This paper engages these questions based on my larger ethnographic study of the state child protection policy and institutions in Turkey. I trace the social life of the 1988 dated Law Number 3413 which grants individuals who grew up under state care the right to be employed in public institutions. I draw attention to how those involved with this law ( the law-makers who brought it into being, top-level and street-level bureaucrats engaged in its everyday implementation and those who are the subjects of the law-the individuals raised under state care) emotionally relate to this law. I explore the range of specific emotions-gratitude, happiness, anger, regret, helplessness etc. - these differently situated actors express in relation to the law. My discussion highlights how a specific law might acquire a life of its own; gain multiple, contradictory emotional meanings which become the basis of social negotiations and generate both harmonious and conflictual social relationships among different social actors and the state.

panel P063
The anthropology of emotions and law [LAW NET]