Turkey's Necropolitical Laboratory

Democracy, Violence and Resistance

Edited by Banu Bargu

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Analyses Turkey’s precarious democracy from the perspective of its entwinement with violence
  • Brings together 11 case studies that take up different forms of violence which collectively shed light on the contradictions and limitations of Turkey’s democracy
  • Zooms in on themes such as martyrdom, counterinsurgency warfare, enforced disappearances and conscientious objection; sites such as emergency zones, cemeteries, monuments and borderlands; and institutions such as prisons, courts and the army
  • Draws on historical, discursive, and ethnographic approaches
  • Gathers contributors from disciplines including political theory, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, history, international relations, gender studies and sexuality studies
  • Speaks to the broader research programme on violence in the critical humanities and social sciences

This book makes a strong case that Turkey’s regime and its vicissitudes are dependent on a necropolitical undercurrent. Building on the insights of critical and contemporary theory, the essays address the multiple ways in which lives are brought into the fold of power. Once there, they are subjected to mechanisms of death and destruction, and to modalities of infrastructural violence, strategic neglect and exposure. This produces new forms of impoverishment, inequality and disposability.

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1. Turkey’s Necropolitical Laboratory: Notes Towards an InvestigationBanu Bargu

Part I: Politicising Death: Sovereign Cartographies of Violence

2. ‘These are Ordinary Things’: Regulation of Death under the AKP RegimeOnur Bakıner

3. ‘They Wrote History with Their Body’: Necrogeopolitics, Necropolitical Spaces and the Everyday Spatial Politics of Death in Turkey

Lerna K. Yanık and Fulya Hisarlıoğlu

4. Neither Civilian, Nor Combatant: Weaponised Spaces and Spatialised Bodies in CizreHaydar Darıcı and Serra Hakyemez

Part II: Negotiating Life: Resistance and Democracy

5. The Necropolitics of Documents and the Slow Death of Prisoners in Turkey Başak Can

6. Proper Subjects of Gendered Necropolitics: A Case of Constructed Virginities in TurkeyElif Savaş

7. Necropolitics, Martyrdom, and Muslim Conscientious ObjectionPınar Kemerli

8. The Use of Blood Money in the Establishment of Non-Justice: Necrodomination and ResistanceCem Özatalay, Gözde Aytemur Nüfusçu, and Gülistan Zeren

9. Money for Life: Border Killings, Compensation Claims and Life-Money Conversions in Turkey’s Kurdish BorderlandsFırat Bozçalı

Part III: Political Afterlives: Governing The Living And The Dead

10. Another NecropoliticsBanu Bargu

11. The Cemetery of TraitorsOsman Balkan

12. Nightmare-Knowledges: Epistemologies of DisappearanceEge Selin Islekel


Banu Bargu is Associate Professor of History of Consciousness and Political Theory in the Department of History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her main area of specialisation is political theory, with a thematic focus on theories of sovereignty, biopolitics, and resistance. She is the author of the award-winning book Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia University Press, 2014).

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