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MC: Demet Lüküslü: Turkey's 68

When Feb 04, 2019
from 12:00 to 04:00
Where Phil. I, Building B, R.029
Contact Name
Contact Phone Tel.: +49 (0)641 99-30046
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The study of Turkey’s 1968 offers an interesting case, since not only was Turkey a devout NATO ally, as a neighboring country of the Soviet Union during the Cold War era, but also because Turkey consequently found itself experiencing extremes leading to political polarization and violence in the late 1960s and 1970s. The 1968 generation in Turkey first emerged as a student movement focusing on reform within the university system, but towards the end of the 1960s, it evolved into a revolutionary movement, eventually fighting for the use of revolutionary violence after the military intervention of 1971.  At the end of the military regime, almost all of the leaders from the 1968 generation were killed, either in executions, operations, or torture cells.  


In Turkey, there is a tentative to read 68 from today’s perspective which brings a polarized analysis of the 1968 generation. On the one hand, there is the tendency to mystify the 1968 generation whereas the other lays harsh criticism of the same generation, blaming members for the anarchy and political violence of the period. This phenomenon was also observed during the Gezi protests in Turkey in 2013. The martyrs of the 1968 generation were represented during the protests, with a huge poster of Deniz Gezmiş - a mythical figure of the 1968 generation, executed on 6 May 1972 at 25 years old- hanging on the walls of Atatürk Cultural Centre in Taksim, Istanbul. For the protestors, such figures marked the continuity of the Gezi Park protests with the history of resistance in Turkey. However, for those representing the status quo, the presence of these figures during the protests was the very sign that the Gezi protests were dangerous, thus leading Turkey to chaos. 


The course aims to discuss Turkey’s 68 through the lens of youth and generation studies, based on theoretical tools provided by Karl Mannheim’s (“The problem of generations”) and Margaret Mead’s (Culture and Commitment: A Study of the Generation Gap) works. Thus the course aims to make an in-depth analysis of the generation by focusing on the characteristics of the socio-historical context, the characteristics of the generation and the society.    


Two forthcoming articles by Prof. Lüküslü will be suggested as additional readings:


  • “Political journey of Turkey’s 1968: from a privileged youth to a political defeat”
  • “Rethinking Turkey's 1968: Masculinity, Political Discourse and Political Violence”

// Prof. Demet Lüküslü is a professor of Sociology at Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey. She received her PhD in Sociology from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, France in 2005. She is the author of Türkiye’de ‘Gençlik Miti’: 1980 Sonrası Türkiye Gençliği (The "Myth of Youth" in Turkey: The Post-1980 Youth in Turkey) (İletişim Yayınları, 2009) and of Türkiye’nin 68’i: Bir Kuşağın Sosyolojik Analizi (Turkey’s 68: Sociological Analysis of a Generation) (Dipnot Yayınları, 2015). Her areas of research include sociology of youth, sociology of everyday life, sociology of education, social movements and cultural studies.  Her articles have recently appeared in journals such as Youth & Society, New Perspectives on Turkey, The International Journal of the History of Sport, Cahiers d’Etudes sur la Méditerranée Orientale et le Monde Turco-Iranien (CEMOTI), Grande Europe, EurOrient, Toplum ve Bilim, Southeast European and Balck Sea Studies, and Research and Policy on Turkey.



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