Phallogocentrism and the reproduction of the political economy of fear in Turkey


Eirini Avramopoulou




Focusing on the pre-electoral period of 2018 in Turkey, this article offers meditations on the political atmosphere of the state of emergency created after the failed coup d’ etat in July 2016, leading to legal persecutions and imprisonments of thousand people, as well as the banning of media, publishers, syndicates, and so on. By relating this atmosphere to the highly problematic division between the so-called “Kemalists” and “Islamists” that often appears as a legitimate frame to understand and analyse the political situation in Turkey during the last years, the notion of phallogocentrism is employed in order to provide a criticism against the inherent western and orientalist connotations of this analytical frame. Moreover, the paper demonstrates the ways through which this division is being perpetuated by Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan’s government enabling, in result, the legitimisation of governance through violence, while the maintenance and production of fear becomes a biopolitical exercise of control over the nation and a means of silencing other political processes, as well as resistance.


Eirini Avramopoulou is an assistant professor of Social Anthropology at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, Greece. Her research interests include anthropology of human rights, social movements and activism in Turkey; feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to subjectivity, biopolitics and affect; and more recently she focuses on displacement, memory and trauma in the island of Leros, Greece. She is the author of Porno-graphics and porno-tactics: Desire, affect and representation in pornography (co-edited with Irene Peano, 2016, Punctum Books) and Affect in the political: Subjectivities, power and inequalities in the modern world (in Greek, 2018, Nisos).