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Trauma, Memory, and Agency: Making and (Re)making the Intractable Conflicts of Turkey and Israel

Adısönmez, Umut Can (2021) Trauma, Memory, and Agency: Making and (Re)making the Intractable Conflicts of Turkey and Israel. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.89760) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:89760)

Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only until August 2024.

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This work investigates slow-moving sociopsychological mechanisms that are argued to establish and sustain the main contours of Turkey's and Israel's intractable conflicts with, respectively, Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê and Palestinian Liberation Organisation (and later Hamas). It mainly argues that traumatic conflict experiences -acquired during the full-scale Independence Wars and internal conflicts- of the early Turkish (1918-1938) and Israeli leaderships (1936-1964) became their psychological cornerstone, and so defined their social reality and individual level patterns of actions. At the time of state formation, these traumatic experiences were instrumentalised by the leaderships to consolidate a particular collective identity, namely the imagined Turkishness and Israeliness, and its in-/out-group boundaries. More precisely, these imagined national agencies and their psychologically defining properties, such as their autobiographical narratives, were formed through the relation of difference vis-à-vis the selective Other(s) -Kurds and Palestinians- that the early leaderships violently encountered. Coupled with the particular context in which these conflict memories are shaped, the binary reading of the Other(s) informed Turkey's and Israel's harsh security agenda which was adopted to secure and stabilise the particular collective identity against the selective Other(s) over the decades. These developments in turn prepared the epistemic basis and nature of both states' intractable conflicts. Yet, the conflicts were sought to be settled by the "National Unity and Brotherhood" project in Turkey (2009-2015) and the "peaceful coexistence" project in Israel (1984-2000). These initiatives, however, remained ineffective to facilitate the projected sociopsychological change at the society level, which promptly marked reapplication of the binary reading of the selective Other(s) and intractable conflict pattern in both states. Drawing on the concepts of trauma, memory, and agency making in ontological security, this study contributes to the recent theoretical literatures in International Relations on memory and trauma, and Turkish and Israeli studies in two ways. First, it uncovers the interplay between psychological and sociohistorical processes of security and imagined national agency making. Second, it shows the importance of a particular national context in which traumatic memories are shaped and in turn become constitutive elements of politics, security and conflict. Thus, it discovers a direct relationship between traumatic experiences, memory making (and narrating), collective identity, making of (and securitising) selective Other, and the propensity to shape and spur the intractable conflicts of Turkey and Israel.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Voller, Yaniv
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.89760
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2021 13:10 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2021 11:34 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Adısönmez, Umut Can.

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