Inheriting and Living the Political

The Leftist Youth Subculture in Istanbul

in Anthropology of the Middle East
Lorenzo D’Orsi Stockholm University

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This article, based on ethnography conducted in Istanbul, focuses on the experience of the political among young, far-left Turkish militants and young adults whose parents belong to the ’78 revolutionary generation. It shows how their ‘red youth subculture’ is imbricated with family, solidarity and generational bonds. Through the analysis of ritualised political practices such as the May Day parades, the feeling of nostalgia for a never-lived past, political meetings and the role of politics in families, it argues that the experience of the political is irreducible to a set of strategies and ideas: it consists of affections, corporeal sensations, embodied knowledge, aesthetic choices and material culture, which all contribute to substantialise relationships with the state, forms of intimacy and practices of distinction.

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