Arda Gucler

Program Area(s):  Political Theory

Dissertation Title:

Untimely Representation: Deliberation, Urgency and Democratic Theory

Dissertation Committee:  Lars Toender (chair), Jacqueline Stevens and Bonnie Honig

Dissertation Description:

My dissertation, directed by Lars Toender, Jacqueline Stevens  and Bonnie Honig, explores why political  representation should be considered esssential to democracy. To account for this question, I turn to deliberative theory, which places a normative emphasis on the way representative mediatioin defers the democratic will and thereby cultivates in people the ability to see their demands as revisable and open-ended. While acknowledging the merits of this position, I also criticize it for framing deferral in the teleological sense by way of which representation becomes something to be perfected over time. Such formulation, I contented, prevents deliberative theory from achieving the very ends it strives for since it captures moments of rupture in the represented identity as a threat to be domesticated rather than as a democratically subversive tool be affirmed. It is in view of this critique that i foreground the idea of "untimeliness" and underline a much neglected type of representative crisis where political communities bear the risk of becoming lost in their own idealizations. I contented that deliberative theory inadvertently becomes complicit in the perpetuation of such crisis as it does not have a language to affirm untimely. To Illustrate and further develop this theorectical intervention, my research examines the recent democratic opening in Turkish politics towards Kurdish constituency to understand what becomes democratically lost when the temporal register of untimeliness is eliminated in representatice politics. I particularly focus on a newly emerging Turkish contituency who in the aftermath of the Gezi Park uprisings produced an untimely alliance with the Kurdish minority and started to experiment with new representational possibilities against the two dominant nationalist discourses in Turkey.

Publications:

  • Review of Jenny White, “Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks”, European Journal of Turkish Studies, Book Reviews, (April 2013), 1 – 4.
  • “Azınlık Olma ile Müşterek Alan Yaratma Gerilimi İçinde Gezi”, [Gezi in the Tension of Being a Minority and Generating Common Spaces: Gezi], Birikim, May 2014.
  • “Ernesto Laclau ile Söyleşi: Çoğulcu Hareket ve Hasmımızı Bulmak” [An Interview with Ernesto Laclau: Pluralist Movements and Finding the Enemy], Birikim,(May. 2010), 146 – 157.