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When silence talks: The moral landscape of leftist painful memories in Turkey
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS).
2018 (English)In: , 2018Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Drawing on an ethnography carried out in Istanbul, this talk examines the experience of silence in Turkish former revolutionaries’ families, the main victims of the 1980-1983 military coup, and challenges the universal model of traumatic silence, which overshadows local conceptualizations of the self. In Turkey, the 1980 coup was a political, cultural and generational watershed that dismantled leftist organizations through incarcerations and tortures. For leftist movements and families, the 1980 coup is the biographical and political tragedy upon which a mnemonic community is built. They are still in a counter-hegemonic position compared to official historiography, but have built a “strong memory” codified through the figure of revolutionary martyrdom.

Within leftist families, silence and secrecy are common, even when past is told. On the one hand, silence is the consequence of the painful experiences lived by former militants; on the other hand, it cannot be reduced to the pre-cultural mechanism of unspeakable trauma. Domestic silence and secrecy should be understood in relation to the present and not to the past: they do not prevent emotional interactions but are a practical knowledge through which parents teach to second generations to perform a specific self in a still repressive public space. Moreover, silence over personal issues stands also in relation to a morality of “not saying”: it is part of a poetics of the self that is bound to the ethos of revolutionary fighter, whereby “telling is almost like crying”.

This talk also focuses on generational gap, and shows how second generations often re-read their parents’ silence according to global memory frames, interpreting it as a “traumatic” element. For new generations, the language of trauma is a familiar cultural idiom which also allows them to extend social solidarity and partly break their marginality in an over-politicized memory field.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Social Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161795OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161795DiVA, id: diva2:1261280
Conference
CEIFO seminar, Stockholm, Sweden, November 5, 2018
Available from: 2018-11-06 Created: 2018-11-06 Last updated: 2019-04-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
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More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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