Theses Doctoral

Individual Disengagement of "Turkish Penitents" from Political Violence as Rite of Passage: Voices from the Cracks of Social Structure

Yilmaz, Kamil

This dissertation explores the notion of individual disengagement from political violence in Turkey by reconstructing the lives of 13 'formers' whom I call the Turkish Penitents. Its specific aim is to compare and contrast the experiences of those individuals who left various politically-motivated leftist/revolutionary groups and of those who desisted from an ethnic/separatist organization, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). In an effort to provide a more comprehensive understanding, this study focuses on the preceding and aftermath phases of Turkish Penitents' disengagement, i.e., "how and why they took part in violent actions in the first place" and "who they have become after desisting from political violence." There is currently a lack of conceptual framework in order to account for the notion of individual disengagement from political violence, largely due to the dearth of empirical and ethnographic studies on this notion. Therefore, by reconstructing the personal experiences of the Turkish Penitents through oral-history research, and combining methods and theory from political anthropology, criminal justice and political psychology, this study aims to make its largest contribution to the efforts of social theorizing on this relatively unexplored phenomenon.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Anthropology
Thesis Advisors
Harrington, Charles C.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 3, 2012