Perpetrator graffiti: sharing violent words and images in Turkey
Protner, Beja (2017) Perpetrator graffiti: sharing violent words and images in Turkey. [Thesis]
The thesis focuses on the emotional experience of perpetrator graffiti of the Turkish-Kurdish urban war zones by young people in Istanbul who are emotionally and/or politically involved in Kurdish politics. By "perpetrator graffiti" I refer to the Turkish Special Forces' (ÖH) inscriptions of graffiti into ruined Kurdish spaces, sharing of their photographs on virtual "walls" of Twitter and Facebook, as well as their affective imprint on the dissident young people’s gendered subjectivities. During the urban clashes between the local Kurdish militia (YDG-H) and the Turkish security forces in certain towns and neighborhoods of Kurdish provinces in Southeastern Turkey in 2015-2016, the ÖH sprayed graffiti with threatening content onto the ruined streets and intimate interiorities of private homes. In addition, the violent destruction and appropriation was photographed in a militarized masculinized spectacle with ÖH members posing for the photographs, which were then circulated on social media. The thesis critically engages with theoretical works on affect and emotions in critical theory and cultural anthropology. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Istanbul, virtual ethnography, textual analysis of graffiti, and in-depth interviews with people who followed the events of the urban war zones via social media, I explore the historically contingent feelings of ruins and graffiti. I approach political feelings of sorrow, disgust, anger, helplessness, and precarious hope triggered by violent words and images in relation to meaning, subjectivity, and structural conditions of possibility, which proved to be essential preconditions for the emotional experience and the ability to respond to violence.
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