Ethnicity, Class, and Politics: The Kurdish Interest Associations in Turkey
Interesting insights can be gained by examining the relationships between states and associations when nation-states are under contestation. Associations can take the role of economic intermediaries, but they can also act as organizational bases for oppositional politics. Kurdish interest associations take both roles and oscillate between the central Turkish government and the peripheral Kurdish movement in a context in which the nation-state is being contested. By examining the behavior and outlook of these associations, this project discusses the unifying potential and limits of ethnic commitments and class interests for collective action and political mobilization. This discussion points at the importance of strategic interaction as well as structural factors in bringing about a variety of state-association relations. Empirically, the project draws on archival work and four months of fieldwork in the Kurdish region of Turkey. Project duration: October 2009 to December 2013.