Turkey is offered by Aybike Alkan, Duygu Kaşdoğan, and Maral Erol as a landscape of three fragmented luminosities—of universities, art-science discussion spaces (including a documentary film) outside the university, and journal experiments with situated perspectives of mental health patients and their psychiatrists. These are spaces of STS par excellence, but, as they argue, they are also spaces of struggle against the twin incursions of state control and neoliberal market evaluative metrics and criteria of value. The stakes are high. Defending the autonomy of the university, of a free press, and of freedom of opinion in the public arena have all come under increasing attack by the Erdogan government. Within the university there are struggles for intellectual autonomy, democratization of knowledge production, and cross-disciplinary fertilization; and these goals, in part, can be aided by work adjacent to the university in newspapers, and art-science sites such as IstanbuLab sets up.

How then does a new quasi-discipline find its footing? At least three types of answers are illustrated, each with limitations and criticisms: (in the first half) competing for accreditation and ranking on the international stage (Bilkent); alliance with state science policy agencies (METU and Tubitak), and (in the second half) the pragmatic indirection of the “probing arts” (IstanbuLab, newspaper opinion columns, Sizofrengi). A modest suggestion is to pay attention also to STS scholars working on Turkey who live outside Turkey, and in so doing expand narrow reference frames of STS as defined in Europe to broader anthropological STS ones concerned with more comparative and substantive issues.

To read further, please follow this link.


Analytic (Question)





Creative Commons Licence