Exposing a void by filling it: witnessing as a mode of claiming political visibility and the case of vote and beyond volunteers

Karaca, Gamze
Election observation and monitoring, which has begun to take effect and spread worldwide since the beginning of the 20th century, gained relevance in Turkey after 2014, with the mobilization of civil citizens organized under the domestic civil society organization Vote and Beyond. Existing literature on election observation and monitoring usually discuss the rapid spread of the practice with reference to the changes in the international normative environment or focus on the impact of it on public opinion, but seldom mention why and how this practice comes to find a place for itself in the political repertoire of the citizens who undertake monitoring and observation duty in their homelands. By deriving from the narratives of thirty respondents who volunteered as part of Vote and Beyond in the 2015 general elections of June 7 and/or November 1; this study tries to understand the monitoring position that has been created with civil initiative; relates this position to the ways through which respondents experience politics, democracy and elections; and discusses the theoretical and conceptual unfoldings of the position with regard to the notions of spectatorship, visibility, appearance and witnessing. Instead of assessing the monitoring position only in technical and legal terms, the study suggests that this position is conceived as a form political experience developed in response to the conditions and possibilities of experiencing politics in contemporary Turkey. 


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Citation Formats
G. Karaca, “Exposing a void by filling it: witnessing as a mode of claiming political visibility and the case of vote and beyond volunteers,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2017.