The Politics of Culture in Turkey, Greece & Cyprus: Performing the Left Since the Sixties, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Politics of Culture in Turkey, Greece & Cyprus

Performing the Left Since the Sixties, 1st Edition

Edited by Leonidas Karakatsanis, Nikolaos Papadogiannis


322 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-03-15
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Performing a political identity usually involves more than just casting a vote. For Left-wingers in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus – countries that emerged as the only non-socialist constituents of South-eastern Europe after WWII – political preference meant immersion to distinct ways of life, to ‘cultures’: in times of dictatorship or persecution, the desire to find alternative ways to express themselves gave content to these cultures. In times of political normality, it was the echoes of such memories of precarity and loss that took the lead.

This book explores the intersection between the politics and cultures of the Left since the sixties in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. With the use of 12 case studies, the contributors expose the moments in which the Left has been claimed and performed, not only through political manifestos and traditional political boundaries, but also through corporeal acts, discursive practices and affective encounters. These are all transformed into distinct modalities of everyday life and conduct, which are commemorated, narrated or sung, versed, painted, or captured in photographic images and on reels of tape. By focusing on culture and performance, this book highlights the complex link between nationalism and internationalism in left-wing cultures, and illuminates the entanglements between the ways in which left-wingers experienced transitions from dictatorship to democracy and vice versa.

As the first book to analyse cultures and performances of the Left in the three countries, The Politics of Culture in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus causes a rethinking of the boundaries of political practice and fosters new understandings of the formation of diverse expressions of the Left. As such, it will be a valuable resource for students and scholars of cultural and social anthropology, modern European history and political science.


In this edited volume, Leonidas Karakatsanis and Nikolaos Papadogiannis have brought together more than a dozen scholars who have been contributing immensely to different fields of social sciences for over a decade. This is not just another book on the emergence of nationalism in these countries or their similarities and differences. This book sheds light on understudied but extremely important issues such as the ‘intersection’ between the politics and cultures of the Left in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus…All in all, I would say this has been one of the most original books I have read on these three countries.

Bahar Baser, Conventry University in Journal of Contemporary European Studies

Table of Contents

Introduction, Performing the Left in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, Leonidas Karakatsanis and Nikolaos Papadogiannis Part 1 Disposession and the Left/ Performing memory and loss 1. Inhabiting the memory of political incarceration in Greece: two women's narratives from the Civil War and the Junta, Maria Michou 2. Surrogate apologies, sublated differences: contemporary visions of post-national futures in Turkey under the spectre of the Left, Alice von Bieberstein 3. Repositioned/ re-signififed: Echoes of violence, aporias of solidarity between Cyprus, Turkey and Greece, Leonidas Karakatsanis Part 2 Contested performances/ art as politicising culture 4. Sounds of resistance: performing the political in the Kurdish music scene Alev Kuruoglu and Wendelmoet Hamelink 5.Encounters betwixt and between: Contemporary art curatorial performances and the Left in the republic of Cyprus, Despo Pasia 6. Lost images, silenced past: rethinking the film practices of Genc Sinema (Young Cinema) from 1968 to 1971, Esra Yildiz Part 3 Cultures of the Left between 'traditions' and 'modernities' 7. The Left of the everyday: Cypriot narratives of indigenous modernization, geopolitics and visions of emancipation, Andreas Panayiotou 8. 'We are and we remain Greeks'. The radically patriotic discourse in Pyrsos magazine in the GDR 1961-1968, Mary Ikoniadou 9. Collective and counter Memory: The 'invention of resistance' in the rhetoric of the Greek and Turkish Left, 1951-1971, Nikos Christofis Part 4 Performing Space, un/doing boundaries 10. Revolutionary ethics: relations between leftist militants and Gecekondu dwellers in Istanbul, 1975-1980, Christopher Houston 11. Radicalising no-man's land: The occupy Buffer Zone Movement in Cyprus, Murat Erdal Ilican 12. Performing 'culture', becoming Left: Greek university students in pursuit of 'autonomy', Maria Doukakarou Part 5 Beyond Concluding 13. Across Borders and Generations: Remembering and Imaging the Left - An interview with Foti Benlisoy and Nikolaos Moudouros 14. The Left beyond concluding: performance and culture as critique, Leonidas Karakatsanis and Nikolaos Papadogiannis

About the Editors

Leonidas Karakatsanis is the Assistant Director at the British Institute at Ankara, and author of Turkish-Greek Relations. Rapprochement, Civil Society and the Politics of Friendship. His work focuses on peace and reconciliation, civil society, minorities, and the role of affects in contentious politics.

Nikolaos Papadogiannis is a Teaching Fellow and Co-Director of the Institute for Transnational and Spatial History at the University of St Andrews. His research interests include travel, youth cultures, gender, migration, emotions and European identities

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Mediterranean Studies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies