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Political and social opposition represented by environmental movements against neoliberal politics in contemporary Turkey

Binbuğa Kınık, Burcu Nur
This Ph.D. thesis analyses recent environmental movements in Turkey within the framework of anti-neoliberal movements, based on field researches carried out in the cities of İstanbul and Artvin in Turkey. Drawing on in-depth interviews and participant observation, this study aims to understand and explain the social basis, organizational characteristics, main motivations and action patterns of environmental movements on the one hand, and emerging forms of new political and social agency representing a significant opposition against neoliberal politics on the other. This study mainly argues that the environmental movements in İstanbul and Artvin show the characteristics of anti- neoliberal movements in three respects. First, they share the common organizational structure. They adopt leaderless and horizontal organizations. They advocate participatory decision-making processes. Second, they represent powerful opposition against neoliberal policies that plunder, commodify, and privatize the nature and ecological commons. Third, they show the characteristics of prefigurative politics through “here and now” practices, creating new subjectivities, developing new relations, and transforming the activists, and everyday life