Kellogg Doctoral Student Affiliate Şehrazat Gülsüm Mart is a political sociologist who studies how intergenerational experience in Turkey shapes the mobilization strategies of young activists in the face of state violence and prosecution. She’s working to understand how youth interpret and draw on past political experiences, including the 1980s era of protests and the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey.
“Stories of past political struggles told within families play an important role in youth’s political socialization, but I wouldn't say necessarily that there's an activism tradition within families,” says Mart. Families may not be the primary influence on activism, and student clubs, political party and social movement affiliations, or connections through arts and culture, also influence an evolving political identity.
She credits Kellogg and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies with helping to transform her own views on institutions and the power to effect change. Most recently, Mart shared her expertise on Turkey during a panel discussion on the catastrophic impacts of the February 6 earthquake and what that means for reconstruction despite Turkey's comprehensive disaster planning on paper.
"The government deploys urban transformation in this earthquake preparedness framework, but primarily as a political and economic tool to sustain the regime," she said. In practice, that means the plans allow for the destruction of marginalized communities’ neighborhoods along with their social networks in urban centers. Mart cautions against structural disparities during Turkey’s recovery process.
The full panel discussion, hosted by the University of Notre Dame's Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, is available here.