Reformism versus radicalism: conscientious objection to military service in Israel and Turkey

Durgun, Doğu (2021) Reformism versus radicalism: conscientious objection to military service in Israel and Turkey. Critical Military Studies, 7 (3). pp. 259-277. ISSN 2333-7486 (Print) 2333-7494 (Online)

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The literature on social movements gives a great deal of importance to framing strategies and political opportunity structure to explain success and failure of movements. Under favourable political contexts, movements with reformist claims and discourses are expected to mobilize wider constituencies and in doing so to succeed in creating change. Drawing on a comparative analysis of conscientious objections in Israel and Turkey, I argue that this conviction is based on a narrow understanding which conceptualizes success as legal and/or institutional change, and overlooks social and political change that emerge at the level of representation. A more nuanced understanding is essential to grasp change in its multiple forms, possibilities and limits. In Israel, liberal tenets of the state and the military enable a favourable political opportunity structure, in which the reformist acts of objection institute the Constitutional Committee; yet this goes hand in hand with reproduction of hegemonic constructions of military, soldiering and war, as well as the confinement of the reform within a pro-statist discourse. In Turkey, on the other hand, the objectors fail to enact any institutional change as they articulate a radical agenda under relatively unfavourable political circumstances. Still, they become agents of social and political change, in that they break silences over militarism, war and objection at societal, political and military levels, and make objection intelligible. The article underlines the need for comparative readings that question multiple forms of change that objection brings about, and its impacts, while complicating clear-cut distinctions between success/failure, hegemony/resistance, and military/civilian.
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: conscientious objection; Critical military studies; Israel; movements; Turkey
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Academic programs > Political Science
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Doğu Durgun
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2022 10:56
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2022 10:56

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