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  • 1.
    D'Orsi, Lorenzo
    Karl-Franzens University of Graz, Austria.
    Conspiracy narratives and memory of political violence within Turkish leftist families2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper analyzes conspiracy narratives within Turkish families of leftists revolutionaries affectedby State violence. It shows how such narratives are cultural frameworks through which a practicalknowledge of the State and experiences of political subjugation are conveyed through generations.

  • 2.
    D'Orsi, Lorenzo
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS).
    Moral Thresholds of Outrage: The March for Hrant Dink and New Ways of Mobilization in Turkey2018In: Conflict and society: Advances in research, ISSN 2164-4543, E-ISSN 2164-4551, Vol. 4, no 1, p. 40-57Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article analyses the social construction of moral outrage, interpreting it as both an extemporaneous feeling and an enduring process, objectified in narratives and rituals and permeating public spaces as well as the intimate sphere of social actors’ lives. Based on ethnography carried out in Istanbul, this contribution focuses on the assassination of the Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007. This provoked a moral shock and led to an annual commemoration in which thousands of people—distant in political, religious, ethnic positions—gather around a shared feeling of outrage. The article retraces the narratives of innocence and the moral frames that make Dink’s public figure different from other victims of state violence, thus enabling a moral and emotional identification of a large audience. Outrage over Dink’s murder has become a creative, mobilizing force that fosters new relationships between national history and subjectivity, and de-reifies essentialized social boundaries and identity claims.

  • 3.
    D'Orsi, Lorenzo
    University of Graz, Austria.
    Remembering the 1980 Military Coup: An Anthropological Perspective on the Uses of Oral History in Turkey2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper draws on ethnographic investigation carried out in Istanbul on the painful memories of leftist organizations and families affected by the violence of the Turkish military coup of 1980-1983. It aims at critically addressing dichotomist interpretations of the recent proliferation of memory studies in Turkey, such as those relying on the antinomy between official state history and memories from below, or remembering as practice of resistance and state imposed amnesia. There are inherent risks in these approaches, for example an overshadowing of the plurality of uses of oral history in Turkey and of the actors involved in its production.

    The analysis of the uses of the past by former leftist revolutionaries, second generations (i.e. children of revolutionary fighters), as well as those NGOs engaged in bringing out repressed memories, reveals a plurality of logics and targets. Such plurality suggests divergent moral and political frameworks, such as the moral economy of the martyr fighter, in the case of former leftist militants, or the globalized model of Transitional Justice adopted by many NGOs. Through such frameworks, not only silenced memories are brought to light, but individual experiences and collective representations are shaped as well. They should not be analysed independently, because their targets make sense in relational terms within a conflictual, polarized and highly politicized memory field. In the analysis of the uses of oral history, my paper also includes interlocutors from the Turkish intelligentsia (academics, social scientists, artists, journalists). These are public figures endowed with a certain degree of social authority that allows them to address debates on memory. Although based on scientific approaches, their understanding of history and past are based on cultural frames that should be part of the analysis of the memory field.

  • 4.
    D'Orsi, Lorenzo
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS).
    Temporary street shrine for imagining a different world: the march for Hrant Dink2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Based on an ethnographic investigation carried out in Istanbul, this contribution analyses the annual commemoration for the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was killed in 2007. It sheds light on the role of a temporary street shrine in creating a moral community that crosses previous political, ethnic and religious belongings, and shows the sacred and the ritual as central categories for understanding the formation process of political participation in Turkey. According to many, state apparatus was behind the murder of a journalist who challenged the Turkish state official history. His death provoked an unexpected  “moral shock”, whereby thousands of people - antithetic for political, religious, ethnic positions - coagulate around a shared feeling of outrage and give life to an annual march that stops in the place where Dink was assassinated. Turkish memory field is highly politicized: despite the changes from a secularized to a pro-Islamic state narrative, official state history continues to be a repressive tool against minorities; the latter give life to counter-memories that ask for themselves the monopoly of suffering. Unlike other Turkish counter-hegemonic memories, Dink commemoration stands as mobilizing force able to re-write the relationship between public emotions and political protests, allowing to differently encapsulate a memory at margin.

    This paper retraces the narratives of vulnerability and innocence that have made appear Dink figure different from other victims of state violence, and enabled the identification of a large audience. Though may appear spontaneous, street sanctuary of Dink reveals a rich symbolic grammar, through which protesters break their identity boundaries and search for alternative connections with the “others”. Sounds, colours, memorabilia, ritualized actions, all concur to a mise-en-scène of mourning that (re)produce feeling of sorrow and moral indignation. My contribution shows how the sacred and the rite, here-in understood in Durkheimian terms of extra-ordinary spaces/times, do not merely “express” nor simply “reflect” collective values and social ties, but generate them. The sacred in Dink march creates an alternative moral order, draws a line between justice and injustice and transforms a street corner into a space of contestation, where participants express criticism of the state and society, bring forth a community of memory and remind themselves that ‘a different world’ is possible.

  • 5.
    D'orsi, Lorenzo
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS).
    Touching history and making community: The memory of the 1980 Turkish military coup in the 12 September Museum of Shame2019In: History and Anthropology, ISSN 0275-7206, E-ISSN 1477-2612Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This contribution draws on ethnography conducted in Istanbul to analyse the Museum of Shame, an amateur exhibition dedicated to the memory of leftist militants who were victims of state violence following the 1980–1983 military coup in Turkey. This museification is the work of a group of ex-revolutionaries and can be considered a cultural practice that challenges statist historiography and creates a mnemonic community. By exhibiting the possessions of murdered militants, it inscribes their personal experiences into collective frames and fosters intergenerational transmission. Its temporality reflects the ethos of the revolutionary fighter, turning mourning into a political statement. However, though this museum practice allows the community to become an agent of history, it is unable to encompass the varying experiences of ex-militants. Its aestheticization of violence and its moral injunctions limit the extent of social solidarity and advance essentialisms that contribute to the construction of marginality from the inside.

  • 6.
    D'Orsi, Lorenzo
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS).
    When silence talks: The moral landscape of leftist painful memories in Turkey2018In: , 2018Conference paper (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.

  • 7.
    D'Orsi, Lorenzo
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS).
    Dei, Fabio
    What is a rite? Émile Durkheim, a hundred years later2018In: Open Information Science, E-ISSN 2451-1781, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 115-126Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is focused on the anthropological concept of ritual, starting from Emile Durkheim's approach in Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse (1912). We discuss three different aspects of the Durkheimian perspective on religion and rituals: a) the sacred/profane dichotomy; b) the concept of collective representations - which establishes a substantial continuity between religious and scientific thought; c) a ‟practical” and performative interpretation of rites as the basis of social bond. During the twentieth century, these aspects have influenced different and sometimes opposing theoretical approaches (including ‟symbolist” and ‟neo-intellectualist” theories and Victor Turner's ‟anthropology of experience”). We briefly review each of them, arguing for the importance of reconsidering them into a unitary perspective, centred on religious phenomena as basically moral experiences and as the language of social relations. In the conclusions, we will show how such unitary approach helps us understand the transformations as well as the continuities of rituality in the individualized and secularized societies of what we call nowadays the Western world.

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