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Civil and civic death in the new authoritarianisms: punishment of dissidents through juridical destruction, ethical ruin, and necropolitics in Turkey

Sertdemir Ozdemir, Seckin and Ozyurek, Esra (2019) Civil and civic death in the new authoritarianisms: punishment of dissidents through juridical destruction, ethical ruin, and necropolitics in Turkey. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 46 (5). pp. 699-713. ISSN 1353-0194

[img] Text (Civil and Civic death in the New Authoritarianisms) - Accepted Version
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Identification Number: 10.1080/13530194.2019.1634390

Abstract

Since the Turkish government’s recent turn to authoritarianism, tens of thousands of public dissidents and government critics have been subjected to dismissals and revocation of civic rights via emergency decrees. The victims call this process ‘civil death’. We aim to understand the logic behind this form of punishment in Turkey by examining the differential genealogy of civil death in the work of Hannah Arendt, Bertrand Ogilvie, Giorgio Agamben, and Achille Mbembe. We demonstrate that a later form of civil death was used by totalitarian regimes in a process leading to the reduction of targeted individuals as ‘superfluous’ and as ‘living corpses’ in concentration camps. In these contexts, death became an instrument of biopolitical and necropolitical powers. We propose that although contemporary punishment of public dissidents in Turkey shares some similarities with these forms of civil death, it may more fittingly be identified as civic death. We argue that while civil death is based on the classical political right of the sovereign to ‘make die’ after first reducing targeted individuals to little more than living corpses, civic death is linked to the power of the sovereign to ‘let die’ through the exclusion of public dissidents from economic, social, and political life.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2019 09:15
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 09:09
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/101061

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