Accepted paper:

Utopias are the daily life: subjectivity, doing together and collective dreams of Gezi Movement and post-Gezi activism in Turkey


Deniz Günce Demirhisar (EHESS (Paris) & Associate Researcher Institut Français d'études anatoliennes (Istanbul))
Lorenzo D'orsi (CNR - Italian National Council of Research)

Paper short abstract:

The paper focuses on the collective thereness experienced in the protests for Gezi Park analysing it as a prefiguration of a life imagined in the moment it was lived. After the protest this experience oriented ordinary practices but the latter also reintroduced those boundaries overcome in the park

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyzes the "collective thereness" in the protests for Gezi Park in Istanbul and its aftermath. We argue a new collective imaginary was produced during the occupation and continued to evolve. In an abandoned area took place an alternative social life between people who had never met each other before due to life styles, political views, religious choices. Our ethnographic research shows how the Park became an utopic but real "space of experience", not as the result of a common political ideal but of an affective bond and a new way of "doing-together". The experience of living together in the park was a space for transgression of symbolic boundaries and cultural codes, disrupting the categories on which the perception of world is built and opening the plot of social script towards new possibilities besides the cultural and political divergences. It was the prefiguration of a life imagined in the same moment it was lived, stimulating creative connections with the others. Through the invention of a bond of biographical memory with the park, occupiers filled Gezi with a new collective imaginary, a repertoire of practices and subjective affirmations with a high level of reflexivity for the actor. The impact of Gezi is above all in the biographical level. On the one hand, everyday life became the place to reproduce and connect with this extraordinary experience. On the other hand, the everyday practices inscribe into an ordinary timeline and slowly re-established those cultural, social and political boundaries overcome during the occupation.

panel Pol007
Radical memories, imagined futures: practices of history-making and prefiguration in social movements