Paris, 1-2 December 2016.

Submission Deadline: 15 June 2016.

The Centre for International Studies (CERI) at Sciences Po, together with the Consortium of European Symposia on Turkey (CEST), is delighted to invite paper submissions for a Symposium to be held from December 1-2, 2016 at Sciences Po in Paris, France.

The Symposium on Politics from Below in Turkey and beyond seeks to identify and discuss, in comparative perspective, the dynamics, effects and modes of “politics from below”. We use the broad wording “politics from below” in a heuristic fashion, in order to question classical definitions of the “political”. This framing aims to suggest different understandings of politics. Political science on Turkey and the wider region has long been dominated by top-down and macro approaches, addressing mainly national institutions, political leaders, public discourses and legislative productions.

However, sociology has shown that taking in account the implementation of policies by lower administrators, as well as their reception by citizens, challenges common perceptions of political processes. Anthropology has widely challenged the institutional and formal definitions of politics. Gender studies, as well as subaltern studies, have called for broader conceptions of politics. New conceptualizations have been proposed, like “infrapolitics” (Scott), “politique par le bas” (Bayart, Mbembe, Toulador), “vernacular politics” (White) or “low politics” (Bayart). Constructionist approaches have addressed the question from yet another perspective, suggesting that there is nothing “essentially” political, and that “the political”, on the contrary, is constructed and contested.

The aim of this symposium is to open up the very definition of “politics” and discuss multiple social practices whose “political” dimension is at stake. Approaching politics from below encourages us to question the shifting borders and conceptualizations of politics. The symposium therefore encourages several pathways: firstly, to get away from event-driven and institutional analyses of politics by giving more attention to the everyday and the ordinary; secondly, to analyze the multiple social uses of institutions and devices in general; thirdly, to account for a wider range of actors (not only “professional” politicians but also citizens, consumers, residents, lower bureaucrats or activists, street-corner shopkeepers, hackers, etc.) and a wider range of practices (registration, consumption, migration, gossip and denunciation, but also aesthetics, etc.).

How does taking in account politics from below challenge our understanding of power dynamics? “Politics from below” is easily equated with resistance, subversion or autonomy – especially in times of growing authoritarianism. However, politics from below does not necessarily mean contestation, and may as well consolidate domination. Do larger transformations impact politics from below? For instance, does growing authoritarianism lead to the politicization of social phenomena or to the contrary to depoliticization dynamics – may be both at the same time? Does neoliberalism impact ways of doing politics, for example fuel the informalization of politics? How does this dimension challenge our understanding of power dynamics in contemporary Turkey and beyond?

Abstract submissions should engage with one or several of the following themes:

  1. Politics from below. A critical assessment

Which are the main conceptual debates on politics from below? What is the explanatory and heuristic power of concepts such as “infrapolitics”, “low politics”, “politique par le bas”, “vernacular politics”, etc.? Is politics from below a mere residue or does is challenge core meanings of power dynamics?

  1. Informal politics

How is politics entangled in presumably non-political phenomena (personal networks, solidarity ties)? How does taking in account those dimensions alter our understanding of politics? To what extent do visible politics (party politics, state policies, etc.) rely on such informal networks and to what extent are they autonomous from them?

  1. Transactions and negotiations

How are public but also organizational (party, NGO, etc.) policies implemented in practice? How can we analyze the multiple social uses of institutions and public policies? To what extent does a look at street-level bureaucrats or activists change our understanding of policies or politics? Which kinds of negotiations and transactions do institutional and formal policies give birth to? To what extent do these negotiations change the meaning of those initiatives?

  1. Challenging the borders of the political. Politicization and depoliticization in practice

Which (new) areas are contested as a political domain – for example as spheres of public policy and contest? Do political cleavages get into new spheres of practice (economy, professional organizations, education, lifestyle, reproduction)? How do different actors reframe issues or actions as being political or not? How does the label of “political” impact the legitimacy of issues, actors or initiatives?

  1. Contestation and the consolidation of hegemony.

What are the effects of these forms of politics from below – do they fuel resistance, accommodation or consolidate domination? How to assess the subversive dimension of politics from below?

We welcome applications from all fields related to the study of society and politics, with a particular interest in comparative work. We would also like to stress our interest in historical studies and a critical debate on the conclusions, which can be drawn from those historical cases for our understanding of politics from below today. Our regional emphasis is on Turkey and its region, but we welcome comparative or conceptual work from other world regions, as long as it promises valuable insights for our regional angle.

Applicants are invited to submit:

  • an abstract of max. 300 words,
  • a CV of max. 300 words,
  • a full CV (table form) with publications if applicable.

The submission deadline is 15 June 2016. Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered.


Convenor: Elise Massicard

Who can apply: PhD Students, Post-Docs and academics. Advanced Master students may apply, if their proposal is based on fresh empirical work.

Submission deadline: 15 June 2016

Submission requirements: 300 word abstract, 300 word CV, publication list.

Submission mailbox: CESTSymposium@gmail.com

Expenses: Accommodation for two nights and travel expenses will be reimbursed. Travel expenses will be reimbursed according to the country of your institution, i.e. for Europe (incl. Turkey) up to 300 Euro.

Submission of papers: Draft papers will have to be submitted by mid-October.

Publication: We will support the publication of the best papers.

Successful applicants will be informed mid-July 2016.

Please consult Dr. Elise Massicard for further information: elise.massicard@sciencespo.fr

This Symposium is convened as part of the Consortium for European Symposia on Turkey (CEST) which is funded by Stiftung Mercator. CEST is committed to the study of modern Turkey by bringing together the expertise of leading European research institutions: Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, London School of Economics, SciencesPo Paris, Stockholm University, Universität Hamburg, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Leiden University, Network Turkey.


Turam, Berna, Gaining Freedoms: Claiming Space in Istanbul and Berlin, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. pp. 264. ISBN: 9780804793629.

Reviewed by Defne Kadıoğlu Polat (2015/2016 Stiftung Mercator-Istanbul Policy Center Fellow at Sabancı University)

Sociologist Berna Turam, whose book debut “Between Islam and the State: the Politics of Engagement” (2007) was apid_22821 major success, strikes again with her 2015 publication on urban democratic practices in Istanbul and Berlin. Using ethnographic methods, Turam analyzes the formation of political identities, alliances and fault lines in the two metropolises asking what the importance of urban space and citizenship are for democracy. Her answer is that the quality of democracy, particular in settings in which institutional democracy is weakening, is highly dependent on everyday urban contestations and alliances build across different social groups.

Turam argues in the beginning of her book “Gaining Freedoms: Claiming Space in Istanbul and Berlin” that urban researchers have typically paid attention to socio-economic inequalities in cities when trying to explain the emergence of urban social movements and struggles over space. She claims that while class and material opportunities certainly matter, the significance of political identities and issues such as the advocacy of human rights beyond socio-economic interest and background have so far been ignored in academia. And this is where her newly published book comes in.

Her ethnographic study is based on three sites – an upper class neighborhood (Teşvikiye) and a liberal university campus in Istanbul and Berlin’s famous ‘immigrant district’ Kreuzberg. By defining democratization as a process in which alliances are build between groups and individuals that belong to different classes, ethnicities, generations and sexes in favor of the advocacy of universal freedoms and rights, Turam argues that particularly socially mixed spaces can turn into important sites for democratic struggle “because they unsettle conventional ideological divides and free people from ancient fault lines.” (p.16)

While common knowledge tells us that Turkey’s most significant fault line is the one between the secular and the religious parts of the population, Turam shows that in face of Turkey’s increasing authoritarianism, pious Muslims and secular groups have frequently come together to stand up for universal rights and freedoms such as the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Turam for example tells the story of secular students on the Istanbul campus she scrutinized and who protested for the right of female students to enter the campus with headscarves. She also argues that the Gezi protests that erupted across Turkey in the summer of 2013, though initiated by secular middle class Istanbulites, were joined by a number of groups who initially shared little commonalities, such as practicing Muslims, Alevis, as well as working-class Turks and Kurds. For Turkey, Turam thus maintains that while the population seems extremely polarized, repressive politics have actually softened social divisions at times when the rights of all groups in society were at stake.

For Berlin, Turam describes that while there are divisions among the Turkish Diaspora in Germany, different social groups who can be considered as social outcasts such as Turkish immigrants, LGBTQ individuals or former anarchists all feel at home at Kreuzberg and are ready to come together when they need to defend the unique character of their socially mixed neighborhood.

Turam’s book is impressive in that it goes against the grain: she does not take pre-established social divisions for granted but instead analyzes under which circumstances people in two very different societies –Germany and Turkey- stand united despite their disparities. Her identification of the urban as primary site of democratic struggle is particularly intriguing given that we all have witnessed multiple of such struggles within the last decade. Moreover, Turam stresses the value of loose rather than close-knit neighborhood ties for building alliances between different social groups which is a remarkable point. She very plausibly argues that fault lines within groups that have historically (more or less) stood together, such as pious Muslims in Turkey or immigrants in Germany, are actually beneficial for democracy because these groups then have to rely on democratic institutions instead of their ‘communities’. This in turn means they have to fight for the proper working of these institutions and they frequently do so with the help of people from outside their own ‘in-group’.

However, there is at least one substantial point that may be considered problematic in Turam’s work: that is Turam’s claim to depict political identity formation and alliances among different groups, instead of staying confined to the realm of socio-economic analysis. This is one of the cornerstones of her analysis. She acknowledges the importance of material structures, but argues that urban contestation tells us something beyond that. Struggles such as the Gezi uprisings are not necessarily connected to class position and material interest and thus must be accounted for otherwise, she says. This is, however, a bold claim that may need some qualification. The question is really how we can separate political from socio-economic analysis and whether we should attempt to do so. While Turam frequently acknowledges the difference in material opportunities among the social groups that come together for urban contestation, she does not really tell us what this implies in terms of her analysis.

Another matter worth debating and again related to Turam’s analytical separation of political from socioeconomic issues is that she argues that Istanbul has –as an unintended result of the  AKP rule- “changed from being a ‘divided’ city into a more ‘integrated’ mixed geography” (p. 30). While in the past, so Turam says, Istanbul was divided into more religious-conservative and secular spaces, today it is quite common to encounter both social groups within one neighborhood. In fact Istanbul today is more segregated in terms of socioeconomic inequality than it has ever been before with poor populations increasingly being pushed to the periphery of the city. Hence, the fact that women wearing headscarves are today maybe more likely to be seen in what Turam labels secular neighborhoods is probably not enough evidence to suggest that Istanbul is more integrated today than it was in the past.

Despite the need to engage critically with these points, “Gaining Freedoms: Claiming Space in Istanbul and Berlin” is certainly to be recommended in that it shifts our focus from ancient societal conflicts to the circumstances under which inter-group solidarity becomes possible, giving us hope for a new road to democratization even under the aggravation of repressive policies.


Stiftung Mercator and Istanbul Policy Center at Sabancı University invite academics, journalists and professionals to apply for a fellowship program that aims to strengthen academic, political and social ties between Turkey and Germany, as well as Turkey and Europe. The program is based on the premise that the acquisition of knowledge and the exchange of people and ideas are preconditions for meeting the challenges of an increasingly globalized world in the 21st century.

Mercator-IPC Fellows work at Istanbul Policy Center (IPC), an independent policy research institute with global outreach located in the center of Istanbul. IPC’s mission is to foster academic research and its application to policy making. The Center is firmly committed to providing decision makers, opinion leaders, academics and the general public with innovative and objective analyses of key domestic and foreign policy issues.

IPC offers Mercator-IPC Fellows access to a broad network of academics, civil society activists and decision makers as well as a unique platform for sound academic research to shape hands-on policy work. Fellows benefit from Sabancı University’s exceptional intellectual capital and vast reserves of scientific knowledge.

In the 2016/17 round, Mercator-IPC Fellowships will be available to outstanding academics, journalists and professionals with significant work experience who work in one of two thematic areas.

| EU/German-Turkish relations

| Climate change

The fellows will be expected to work on academic or practical projects at IPC. A Master’s degree (or equivalent) is required for this position, but a PhD degree is strongly preferred. Applicants without a PhD degree will only be accepted if their work experience and expertise meet the program requirements to the jury’s satisfaction. Projects that focus on the German-Turkish nexus are likewise preferred. Applicants cannot apply for fellowships to fund their PhD dissertations.

The deadline for applications is April 25, 2016. The 2016/17 fellowship begins on September 5, 2016.

Please send your completed applications by email to Mercator-IPC Fellowship Coordinator Ms. Cigdem Tongal (see below for contact details). Feel free to share this information with your friends, colleagues and students. For full details, see the Mercator-IPC Fellowship Program guidelines at http://ipc.sabanciuniv.edu/en/about_fellowship/.

With kind regards,

Prof. Dr. Fuat Keyman

Istanbul Policy Center, Director

For further questions please contact:

Çiğdem Tongal, Mercator-IPC Fellowship Coordinator

Email: cigdemtongal@sabanciuniv.edu

Tel.: 90 (0) 212 292 49 39 ext. 1418


Gülcihan Çiğdem Okan, Mercator-IPC Fellowship Program Officer

Email: gcigdem@sabanciuniv.edu

Tel:   90 (0) 212 292 49 39 ext. 1433


Politics & International Studies


£28,982 – £37,768 pa.


University of Warwick, Coventry.

Closing Date

6 May 2016



Vacancy Overview

This post is full-time, on a 2 year, fixed term contract from 1 September 2016 until 31 August 2018.
Applications are invited for a Research and Teaching Fellow in Middle East Politics in the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) at the University of Warwick.

You will be joining one of the UK’s leading Politics Departments – PAIS was ranked 4th on ‘intensity’ in the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework and recorded 92% student satisfaction in the 2015 National Student Survey. We seek to appoint the best candidate in the field of Middle East politics, broadly defined to include cultural politics, political economy, political sociology, political anthropology, media studies, gender/feminist studies, international relations and/or contemporary history of the Middle East region.
You will be an early career researcher and teacher, committed to developing your research skills, writing for world-leading research publications and delivering excellent research-led teaching. You will balance your time between research assistance on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Politics and Popular Culture in Egypt: Contested Narratives of the 25 January Revolution and its Aftermath’ and teaching a module on Middle East politics (to be shaped by your research interests).

For an informal and confidential discussion about this opportunity, please contact Dr Nicola Pratt, n.c.pratt@warwick.ac.uk, Reader in the International Politics of the Middle East.

Applications from women candidates and those from a minority ethnic background are particularly welcome as these groups are currently underrepresented within the department.

If you have not yet been awarded your PhD but are near submission or have recently submitted your PhD thesis, any offer of employment made to you will be an under-appointment to the post of Research Assistant at Level 5 in the University’s grade structure and with a salary of £28,143. Once your PhD has been awarded and we have evidence of this from you, you will be appointed to the substantive post of Research Fellow at Level 6 and with a salary within the range stated above.


Job Description


Middle East politics is broadly defined to include cultural politics, political economy, political sociology, political anthropology, media studies, gender/feminist studies, international relations and/or contemporary history of the Middle East region.

You will be an early career researcher and teacher, committed to developing your research skills, writing for world-leading research publications and delivering excellent research-led teaching. You will balance your time between research assistance on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Politics and Popular Culture in Egypt: Contested Narratives of the 25 January Revolution and its Aftermath’ and teaching a module on Middle East politics.



1. To provide research assistance on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Politics and Popular Culture in Egypt: Contested Narratives of the 25 January Revolution and its Aftermath’, specifically, the collection, review and analysis of research data for the project, which consist of Egyptian popular culture texts; and coordinating with those responsible to create and develop the project website and database.

2. To publish, both individually and with other project members, project research findings in appropriate scholarly journals of international standing as well as via the project website and other appropriate ways.

3. To attend and present research findings and papers at academic and professional conferences.


4. To design and be responsible for the content of specific areas of teaching and learning within the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

5. To give lectures, seminars, tutorials and other classes as appropriate in support of the required teaching obligations.

6. To supervise undergraduate and postgraduate project work.

7. To ensure that student feedback on teaching is sought through questionnaires and other sources, and to respond constructively to such feedback.

8. To maintain a broad knowledge of up-to-date research and scholarship in relevant fields to ensure that teaching meets the standards expected within a research-led University.

9. To undertake academic duties (i.e. setting examination questions, marking, invigilation and pastoral support of students) required to sustain the delivery of high-quality teaching.

10. To support and comply with the University and Departmental teaching quality assurances standards and procedures, including Equality and Diversity policies and practice, and the provision of such information as may be required by the Department or the University.

Other Activities

11. To participate in relevant professional duties.

12. To engage in continuous professional development and training relevant to research and teaching duties, including training in relevant computer software.

13. To ensure compliance with health and safety in all aspects of work.

The duties and responsibilities outlined above are not intended to be an exhaustive list but to provide guidance on the main aspects of the job. You will be required to be flexible in your duties.

Location: Egham
Salary: £41,030 to £48,548 per annum inclusive of London Allowance
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent

Placed on: 1st April 2016
Closes: 29th April 2016
Job Ref: 0416-123

The Department of History seeks to appoint a Lecturer with research interests in the early modern Muslim world (c.1450 – c.1900) including any aspect of the history of, in particular, the Ottoman, Safavid or Qajar Empires.

The successful candidate will be expected to have a specialisation in one or more of these empires, and an ability to teach into the early twentieth century.  The appointment is intended to initiate appropriate undergraduate teaching and postgraduate research activities in the department but also to develop collaborative teaching with other colleagues, both in the college and university, in the history of the Muslim world and its relations with Europe in this period.

Candidates will normally have completed a PhD in a relevant topic and be able to demonstrate a developing record of publications and research plans. The candidate should also be willing to engage with, and to communicate with, the public.

This is a full-time post available from 1 September 2016. This post is based in Egham, Surrey where the College is situated in a beautiful, leafy campus near to Windsor Great Park and within commuting distance from London.

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Professor Jonathan Phillips (Head of the History Department) on J.P.Phillips@rhul.ac.uk or +44 (0)1784 443295.

To view further details of this post and to apply please visit https://jobs.royalholloway.ac.uk. The Human Resources Department can be contacted with queries by email at: recruitment@rhul.ac.uk or via telephone on: +44 (0)1784 276540.

Please quote the reference: 0416-123.

Closing Date:  Midnight, 29th April 2016.

Interview Date: 26 May 2016.

By Umut Can Adısönmez (Research Associate)

Dr. Selver B. Şahin is an assistant professor of International Relations at Bilkent ssUniversity. She is the author of International Intervention and State-Making: How Exception Became the Norm (Routledge, 2015). She is also a research fellow of Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK), and the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme. Her research is focused on the forms and consequences of state-building interventions in ‘fragile’ and ‘conflict-affected’ countries. She carried out field studies in East Timor, Kosovo, Macedonia and Indonesia both independently and as part of a research team. Her research has been published in Democratization, Asian Survey, Australian Journal of International Affairs, and the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies.


Could you please tell us about your background and previous studies?

I have an interdisciplinary background, with an undergraduate degree in History, master’s in International Relations (Middle East Technical University, Turkey) and a PhD in Political Science (University of Canterbury, New Zealand). In my PhD dissertation, I examined the political and societal dimensions of the UN’s involvement in the democratic reconstruction of Kosovo and East Timor as part of a process of sustainable peace-building after conflict. I have been working as an assistant professor at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, for two and a half years now.

What are the deficiencies in Turkish academic literature related to your field?

There is a growing intervention literature in Turkey that is, to a significant extent, focused on the use of military force in geographically closer countries such as Iraq, Libya or Afghanistan. While there is a need for diversifying the geographical focus and investigating other forms of intervention, it is equally important that researchers have developed the required expertise and level of knowledge about the society, politics, culture and history of the countries they are working on, including those located in Turkey’s immediate neighbourhood. Among other issues are little interest in using multiple perspectives and interdisciplinary research, and limited engagement with theory development. Theory, for some reason, is treated as a kind of marker of identity and it is often expected that as a researcher you should ‘belong’ to a particular IR school of thought and adopt a ‘popular’ theory or method. I personally believe that we should be able to use or combine different approaches and conceptual frameworks including from other disciplines while trying to develop our own analytical models.

A similar problem can be observed in methodology as well. Content and/or discourse analysis conducted in closed offices on campus appears to be one of the widely preferred methodological approaches. These analyses on issues ranging from foreign policy-making to terrorism and insecurity usually include case studies. The evaluations of single or multiple case countries, however, are based on little or no empirically grounded knowledge developed through the researcher’s direct exposure to the country/institutional setting s/he is examining or the conduct of other forms of field studies in accordance with the cultural/social context in the country chosen as a case study. Country or institutional expertise requires substantial exposure to and experience with their specific cultural, political and social settings.

Could you recommend any articles or books which were recently published?

To those interested in UN peace-making operations, I would like to suggest an article by John Karlsrud, formerly special assistant to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Chad. It is entitled “The UN at war: examining the consequences of peace-enforcement mandates for the UN peacekeeping operations in the CAR, the DRC and Mali” and was published in Third World Quarterly in 2015. In this paper, Karlsrud provides a good discussion of why the UN needs carefully designed instruments going beyond peacekeeping strategies to be able to better deliver essentially sensitive and challenging enforcement mandates. These mandates entail the use of force as part of stabilisation missions in war-affected countries such as Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali. Another one is a 2014 book by Rosa Freedman, Failing to Protect:  The UN and the Politicisation of Human Rights, if interested in a detailed critical analysis of a prevailing contradiction between the UN’s promotion of human rights and its inability to protect many individuals from forced displacement, ethnic cleansing and other forms of abuses due to its internal politics.

Could you please tell us about your recent works and your future plans in the field?

My most recent projects include a sole-authored book, International Intervention and State-Making, published in August last year. In this book, I examine the effects of international interventions in the political and social dynamics of sovereignty in Kosovo, East Timor and Iraq. It is among my future plans to add South Sudan to my work on exceptional state-making. I have also completed a paper centring on the question of security sector reform (SSR) ownership by specific reference to the process of security sector development in Kosovo. It has just been accepted for publication. In addition to this paper, which is one of the outputs of my TUBITAK (Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council)-funded project on the processes of peace-building in the Balkans, I am currently working on two other joint research initiatives. One is a co-authored paper with my graduate assistant. In this paper, we aim to produce a contextualised analysis of the dynamics of sustainable peace in Macedonia. The other is focused on Turkey’s soft power policy towards the Balkans that is developing in partnership with a colleague from Macedonia.

Christopher R. Kilford (2016) “The development and future of Canadian–Turkish relations”, Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, Early Access, DOI:10.1080/11926422.2015.1083873.


Despite the passage of approximately 70 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Turkey, the developmentresear1 of the relationship and its future have received little in the way of scholarly attention. This paper, therefore, examines the development of Canadian–Turkish relations and discusses how the relationship is likely to unfold.

The discussion begins with a review of the current literature and then focuses on the early years of the relationship in the Cold War period up until the 1983 election of Prime Minister Turgut Özal. This is followed by an examination of the post-1983 period and Canada’s contemporary relations with Turkey.

The paper argues that Turkey offers Canada long-term economic opportunities, but current domestic and regional challenges facing Ankara likely mean that bilateral relations will not accelerate in the near term.

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