Re-territorialisation and the sites of autogestion within the periphery: Counter-hegemonic socio-spatial movements in Turkey

Ertan Erol


During the last thirty years of rescaling/restructuring processes in Turkey, the neoliberal hegemony remained mostly unchallenged and enjoyed an ideological dominance while the peripheral capitalist social relations underwent a process of substantial socio-spatial transformation. However, this reflects an unstable equilibrium between classes, since the production and transformation of the social space is a dynamic and contested process, rather than a simple process of subordination to the neoliberal capitalist socio-spatial conditions. In that context, this study identifies peripheral capitalist spaces -conditioned by the contemporary neoliberal re-territorialisation- as the possible sites of intensifying capitalist tensions ready to be unclogged by an autogestional momentum.

This paper defines Turkey as one of the capitalist zones of weakness in which the contradictions of the neoliberal processes of intensification and extension started to generate ‘spaces of difference or differential spaces’. The rapid neoliberal re-scaling of Turkey was in fact a process of reproduction of the uneven development of the capitalist space in a different form –export-oriented industrial development- which became the main pillar of the neoliberal hegemonic consensus. The recent increase in the social movements and resistances such as the TEKEL[1] workers’ struggle and the Gezi Park resistance should be analysed within this context and therefore should be identified as the possible sites of counter-hegemonic struggle where the weak points of the capitalist state power and neoliberal hegemony can be culminated into a moment of autogestion. It is possible to argue that these social struggles and particularly the TEKEL struggle and Gezi Park resistance demonstrated significant practices of self-management and solidarity by using the public space both as ‘the site and stake’ of the struggle, and this paper will discuss the potentials and limits of these socio-spatial movements in terms of the autogestional strategy of finding the fertile cracks in the neoliberal hegemony for the creation of the autogestional practices.

[1]     ‘Tütün, Tütün Mamulleri, Tuz ve Alkol İşletmeleri A.Ş. Genel Müdürlüğü’, previously state-owned tabacco and alcoholic beverages company.


Autogestional moments, socio-spatial contradictions, re-territorialisation in the periphery

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