Moral Thresholds of Outrage

The March for Hrant Dink and New Ways of Mobilization in Turkey

in Conflict and Society
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  • 1 Stockholm University Institute of Turkish Studies lorenzo.dorsi1985@gmail.com
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Abstract

This article analyses the social construction of moral outrage, interpreting it as both an extemporaneous feeling and an enduring process, objectified in narratives and rituals and permeating public spaces as well as the intimate sphere of social actors’ lives. Based on ethnography carried out in Istanbul, this contribution focuses on the assassination of the Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007. This provoked a moral shock and led to an annual commemoration in which thousands of people—distant in political, religious, ethnic positions—gather around a shared feeling of outrage. The article retraces the narratives of innocence and the moral frames that make Dink’s public figure different from other victims of state violence, thus enabling a moral and emotional identification of a large audience. Outrage over Dink’s murder has become a creative, mobilizing force that fosters new relationships between national history and subjectivity, and de-reifies essentialized social boundaries and identity claims.

Contributor Notes

LORENZO D’ORSI completed his PhD in cultural anthropology at the University of Milano-Bicocca and is currently Postdoctoral Visiting Researcher at Stockholm University Institute of Turkish Studies (SUITS). He works on the social construction of collective trauma, new social movements, and the intergenerational memory transmission of political violence. He has conducted fieldwork in Turkey, Uruguay, and Italy. He is author of articles in Italian, English, and Spanish and is the winner of the 2017 SIEF Young Scholar Prize for his article “Trauma and the Politics of Memory of the Uruguayan Dictatorship,” published in Latin American Perspectives (2015) and the 2017 Auschwitz Foundation Prize for his PhD research in Turkey. Email: lorenzo.dorsi1985@gmail.com

Conflict and Society

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