Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Central to the Kurdish Freedom Movement’s ideology and practice is overcoming the nation state as a means for liberation. Rather than attempting to capture, subdue or otherwise control the state, both the parliamentary and non-parliamentary parts of the Kurdish struggle work towards more regional autonomy and a localization of governance structures. Although recent attempts to subvert state systems of governance and control in South-Eastern Turkey seem to have been brought to a halt, the movement’s experiments may nonetheless serve as a way to explore central questions related to the creation of a non-state social order. By drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2015, the presentation explores, first, what type of social order could be seen as emerging in the Kurdish Freedom Movement at the time, and second, what challenges, ruptures, interlinkages, and hybrid forms the movement faced in its attempt to decouple from the state. As anthropologists and social scientists have deeply explored state formation processes in various parts of the world, the presentation seeks to encourage closer attentiveness to contemporary attempts at creating ‘non-state’ socio-territorial formations. By examining the ways in which a movement seeks to free itself from the state, the presentation suggests that perhaps the state itself can be studied in novel ways.