The Ravages of Social Catastrophe

August 4, 2015


The video was recorded during the first days of the Gezi uprising. The article also deals with the Gezi protests. Yet it also includes other similar uprising movements around the world that were organised within the last three years. The article makes it clear that the commonalities of these resisting initatives symbolise the parallel dynamics of a new public culture. The particular social protests explored in this study were derived from the cases in England, Italy, Spain, India, Egypt and Turkey. I added some paragraphes from this study below.


"This article draws attention to the ‘politics of catastrophe prevention’ and the deficiencies of the social mega-project of the current global order by exploring the recent resistance examples in different human geographies. In doing so, I endeavor to conceptualize the resistance attempts and their relationship with the current global system through a critical perspective. In this respect, two essential questions aim to clarify the perplexity of social dilemmas that we are facing more seriously every year. (1) Is it functional to lead the resistance at home – in a local geography of injustice – by increasing political deliberation and hampering public silence through ethnographic practices? (2) Can public culture play a significant role between silence and catastrophe through different modes of resistance to break social omerta`, which was created by the Powerful to defy resistance attempts? I argue that since the first decade of the millennium enduring and resisting public cultures of different geographies have been and are the most explicitand powerful rhetoric that expresses grievances of the people when they resist against the dominant authority. In line with this claim, it is not improbable to expect the emergence of new social protests in different parts of the world with different goals; however, the social and cultural roots of the main targets of the protests will remain the same.



The social protests that are presented in this article are diverse examples in terms of both geographic scope and local dynamics that led to the uprisings. This study explores violent, military, civil disobedience, paramilitary and peaceful resistance models. On one hand, it may be righteously perceived at the first instance that there are crystallized structural, ideological and methodological differences in the orientation of these resistance attempts. On the other hand, there are two significant parallel motives within all these social protests: civic resistance attempts and violent quests for a social, political, or cultural change. The first commonality is that all these examples are the reverberations of a public dissent whose initiators and participants claim that they are victimized by the power of authority and its pervasive injustice exercised in the political, legal, social, or cultural spectrum. The second commonality lies in the expectation of the activists that rendered the change, either radical or moderate, an attainable struggle to create a better world when they first resisted against the dominant authority or ruler. This expectation, which fosters the activists to take the initiative for uprising, is subject to either empowerment or defeat during the process of resistance. In the wake of this uncertainty, those activists did not choose the road of hopelessness and status quo when they first decided to participate in the protests. This particular dimension gains more importance when we consider that the antagonists of each social protest and the methods that were embraced during these resistance attempts were deliberately different from each other in the cases that are presented in this article. This commonality among differentsocial protests shows that the common injustice and victimization at the local sphere are the pieces of an integral system of global injustice. The activists, the resistance models and the methods of resistance are different in these social protests, likewise the local rulers, the dominant culture of governance model and the repression methods. However, the means of that repression and the devastating accounts of victimization constitute the multiple and similar facets of social catastrophe. Hence, the increasing number of dissent masses conveys the message that the current hegemonic global system has failed. During this process, a critical thinking is of the utmost importance to elicit the people’s disappointments and to construe the social catastrophes at the local level which are the very parts of social catastrophes at the global level.


We should not only detect dysfunctional parts of the resistance examples but we should also employ hope and action together. I raised two questions at the beginning of this article. On this ground, in order to respond to these questions, it is pertinent to claim that resistance attempts in different parts of the world are the most functional method, if not the shortest way, to create and accumulate new public cultures and eliminate the social mega-project. If the attempts of local resistance act in harmony as the dynamics of a global resistance chain and spend more efforts to materialize a global public sphere, then those attempts may create a tsunami effect. The resistance examples in the last three years are the most concrete proofs for this claim. Yet, from the broad canvas of the public cultures, the absolute elimination of the current social mega-project and social omerta` seems to hover in the struggle between the Powerless and the Powerful, and the Hope that we need is embodied in those uprisings of the silenced masses and the oppressed in different cultural geographies."






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