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Session Overview
Session
RN25_08a_IC_RT_1: ROUNDTABLE: Urban Protests
Time:
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Location: Intercontinental - Aphrodite II
Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel Syngrou Avenue 89-93 Athens, Greece Floor: Lobby Level

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Presentations

Extractive Industries and Local Conflicts in Eastern European Cities

Eliska Drapalova

Hertie School of Governance, Germany

In middle of the heated debate on how to reverse the climate change and global warming, some countries in Eastern Europe and Latin America are returning to extractive industries and natural resources exploitation (mines and timber in particular) to finance their national and regional budgets. These industries and the economic interests behind have an important impact on the lives, environment, and politics of the localities where they are placed. This paper is interested in analyzing the effect of changes in the economic structure on local politics and urban conflicts. The paper looks at several cities from two eastern European countries (Romania and Czech Republic) that recently returned to these industries and investigates the interaction between the economic changes, politics and citizens’ reaction. While in many Romanian cities affected by this economic “transformation”, citizens have risen and protested like in Câmpeni (Alba County) against Roșia Montană mining project. In the Czech Republic, the reopening of mines and new timber exploitation concessions were not strongly opposed by the population, with the exception of ecological groups. Even when the new energetic plans count on producing significant effects on cities in Ustecko Region like Litvinov and Horního Jiřetína (that should be razed to the ground). This paper uses a qualitative small-n case study and complements it with available statistical data on economic structure and politics. Theoretically, this paper combines political economy literature with a Marxist intake on extractivism and studies on urban conflicts and movements for the commons.


Citizenships from abroad. Territorialisation processes and citizenship practices in a Mediterranean city

Elisa Lombardo

University of Catania, Italy

By means of the foreign immigrant category, the paper attempt to upset the static and apparently clear understanding of the relations between place and citizenship, framing it within a processual perspective, as a product of contextually rooted social relations. The empirical investigation of this relationship requires the adoption of a localized and low-scale outlook, and the city is the appropriate context for this aim. Within the city, the request of inclusion and access to welfare services and the claims of rights are linked to everyday practices and forms of social aggregation and solidarity, which in turn produce new links between subjects and between them and the territory where they live. Territorial and relational perspective of citizenship is connected to the partial de-nationalization of the rights and to the greater importance assumed by local and municipal levels of government in determining the collective well-being; also, it aims to highlight the spatial dimension of social phenomena. Spatial movements, residential concentration of groups, modes of collective organization, socio-territorial capital link inextricably citizenship social practices and places. Adopting a mixed-method approach, integrating quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as socio-territorial maps, we had observed some process of ‘becoming citizens’ in a city context of southern Italy.


The Conspirator, The Dissent, or The Ordinary Citizens: Competing Political Memories of the Gezi Parkı Protests in Contemporary Turkey

KAYA AKYILDIZ

BAHCESEHIR UNIVERSITY, Turkey

This presentation scrutinizes the political memory of Gezi Parkı Protests that took place all over Turkey in 2013 and it is based on a national survey conducted with 1957 respondents in 12 cities.

Despite being a some sort of an unfinished social movement Gezi Parkı Protests has already been historicized as a new beginning or as a failed attempt depending on the vested political interests. In the current political context, Gezi Parkı Protests memory has become tied to the interests of the ruling party that views these protests as a coup against the government and identify all dissents as “Gezici” (pro-Gezi). Gezi Parkı Protests is also linked to the aspirations of several protest groups who are unhappy with a number of government policies and exercising the most basic citizenship rights.

My study utilizes the demographical, socio-cultural, political identity and the political fears/distance as variables and the expressed emotions like pain, anger, shame, regret etc. accompanying the Gezi Parkı protest memories are analyzed in relation to aforementioned variables. The level of religiosity is found be relevant of Gezi Parkı protest; the level of self-declared conservatism, modernity, political identity, and political fears/distance are found to be diverged along the republican/secular and conservative/Islamist divide.


The Gezi Protests and the Enlargement of the European Public Sphere to Turkey

Isabel David1, Gabriela Anouck Côrte-Real Pinto2

1Institute of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal, Portugal; 2University of Manchester

The 2013 Gezi protests in Turkey constituted a branch of the wider global wave of contestation and dissent that has been sweeping the world since the start of the 2008 Great Recession and namely Europe. Despite similar themes (demands for greater democracy) and protest repertoires behind mobilisations in Turkey and in the European Union countries, and in the context of the Europeanisation of Turkey (stemming from its status as a EU candidate country), there are no empirical studies addressing the relations between Gezi and European mobilisations/protests. Namely, there is no research on how Gezi protestors frame their actions in relation to their European counterparts, that is, if or how the struggles in Turkey are connected to anti-austerity struggles in the EU and how this sets the tone for a European public sphere. This paper attempts to bridge this gap in literature through twelve semi-structured interviews conducted with activists (environmentalists, trade unions, LGBTI organisations, human rights organisations, feminists, professional chambers) at Gezi Park. The findings of our research reveal a differentiated pattern of Europeanisation of the Turkish public sphere. While interviewees from Turkish civil society organisations founded after the Cold War (environmentalists, feminists, human rights organisations and LGBTI organisations) frame their struggles in a wider European context and display solidarity with their European counterparts, interviewees from historical or Kemalist Turkish civil society organisations (professional chambers, a Marxist organisation, an NGO and a trade union) either reject or question these links by emphasising the ambivalence of EU impact on Turkey’s democratisation. However, this criticism of the EU can be interpreted as proof of their inclusion in a European public sphere sharing similar discontent.



 
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