The possibility of Arendtian action: founding new public spaces in Fatsa 1979-80 and the occupy Wall street movement /

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2014
Ünal, Mehmet Burak
This thesis examines the possibility of Arendtian action without a pre-established public space. The major concern is to question the mainstream understanding of the relationship between action and publicness in Arendt’s framework, which identifies action as always necessitating an already-given public space. In this context, this thesis focuses on the revolutionary and founding dimensions of Arendtian action and frames it as “the creation of the new”. Grounding the thesis on such framing, it is asserted that action in Arendtian sense is capable of establishing unique forms of public-political spaces even if there are not any existing spaces of deliberation and participation. To elaborate further on this debate, two cases from social and political movements are taken into account: First, the emergence of People’s Committees in Fatsa which came into being with the mayorship of Fikri Sönmez in the period of 1979-80 is interpreted as an original type of public experience that demonstrates action’s potential to give birth to something peculiar in human affairs. Second, the occupation of Zuccotti Park in the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the U.S. of 2011 constitutes a novel example in which action transforms a recreation site into a dynamic space of collective interaction. In addition, both cases are also reflected on with respect to certain features of Arendtian action such as spontaneity, plurality, non-violent power and non-sovereignty. Moreover, the examination of cases provides insights to criticize certain Arendtian conceptual separations between the social and the political as well as between labor, work and action.
Citation Formats
M. B. Ünal, “The possibility of Arendtian action: founding new public spaces in Fatsa 1979-80 and the occupy Wall street movement /,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2014.