Seminar with Yasemin Gülsüm Acar, Özyeğin University
October 13, 2016
12:00 pm-1:00 pm
Room: Events Hall 160 west
She is a faculty member in the psychology department at Özyeğin University. Yasemin’s research interests include social activism and identity constructs in Turkey; political protest and its consequences; political solidarity; politicization and social identity; social (ethnic, religious, political) identity, and intergroup relations/conflict. She received her PhD from Claremont Graduate University, where she specialized in social identity and identity politicization through collective action. Yasemin recently published a book with her colleague Özden Melis Uluğ entitled Bir olmadan biz olmak: Farklı gruplardan aktivistlerin gözüyle Gezi Direnişi [Becoming us without being one:The Gezi Resistance from the perspective of different activists]. She has additionally published numerous book chapters and articles on consequences of collective action, as well as participated in research projects and produced publications on various perceptions of the Kurdish-Turkish Peace Process in Turkey. Her current research focuses on group-based perceptions of contemporary political dynamics in Turkey.
Though studies of collective action date back to at least the 1890’s, in recent years there have been a number of developments in the social identity and collective action literatures clarifying how and why collective action emerges. Bandura’s concepts of self-efficacy and collective efficacy (1977, 1997) have been discussed as potential antecedents of both collective action and politicized identity. However, advances within the social identity approach indicate that efficacy does not encompass the emotional aspects of being successful, and that empowerment may be a more inclusive way to understand willingness to engage in future protest (Drury & Reicher, 2000, 2005). Empowerment has not yet clearly been shown as either an antecedent or consequence of collective action, and although the literature suggests feelings of empowerment endure long after the action is completed, questions of what role it plays in politicization and continuation of collective action have yet to be fully explored.
The current works seek to better examine the link between empowerment and politicization of identity following the Gezi Park protests in Turkey in 2013. Twenty-five interviews were conducted with protest participants after the protests. Interviews indicated that the Gezi Park protests allowed for participants to be in close contact with a variety of different organizations. As well, participants cited empowerment experiences through conflict with police but also through the park occupation. Participants cited a desire to continue empowerment experiences through their new groups.