During today’s crisis in Turkey, victimhood authorises oppression,
oppressors see themselves as victims and the oppressed are not only the poor, but
educated middle classes. Citizen and state are imbricated in the same political
and discursive fields where people mobilise against one another, some moving up
and others down, creating unexpected landscapes of victimisation and oppression
that do not fit comfortably in literature that analyses ‘politics from below’. How
do we conceptualise this in a way that respects people’s understanding of their
coordinates in a complex landscape of power? This article interrogates some basic
assumptions of this literature, including the impact of the observer’s position and
the oppression/resistance framework, replacing it with a model of politics as a
shared horizontal topography of action across a terrain of values.
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