Taking the matter into your own hands: ethnographic insights into societal violence and the reconfigurations of the state in contemporary Turkey


SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN AND BLACK SEA STUDIES, 2021 (SSCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Yayın Türü: Makale / Tam Makale
  • Cilt numarası:
  • Basım Tarihi: 2021
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1080/14683857.2021.1909293


This article explores the changing configurations of statehood in the Turkish context through an exploration of men's engagements with conspiratorial narratives, vigilantism, and extralegal violence against whom they deem to be 'subversive' elements. Drawing on ethnographic research on nationalist communities in Trabzon, in northeast Turkey, I trace everyday encounters, imaginations, and utterances to understand how the circulation of conspiracy theories is intricately related to the production and prevalence of societal violence. Rather than dismissing them as untruthful accounts, I explore how the circulation of conspiratorial narratives issue forth pathways through which men act in the name of the state to confront threats against the integrity of the state/nation. The article demonstrates how certain state privileges (e.g., surveillance and legitimate violence) are delegated to civilian actors and how this delegation reconfigures the way the state operates in the Turkish context. Presenting an account of the changing parameters of statecraft, law, and political subjectivity in the Turkish context, findings of this research are of relevance since various other contexts across the globe also experience the adverse effects of the prevalence of conspiracy theories, vigilantism, and extralegal violence.