Neoliberal developmentalism, authoritarian populism, and extractivism in the countryside: the Soma mining disaster in Turkey
While state-society relations in Turkey have historically been top-down and coups d’état periodically interrupted democratic politics, the recent authoritarian turn under Erdoğan is remarkable. Two dynamics are especially salient. First, Erdoğan and his AKP have been particularly effective in deepening the neoliberalisation of economy and society. Their policies have created a new form of neoliberal developmentalism, where solutions to all social ills have come to be seen as possible through rapid economic growth. Second, they have intensified the transformation of the countryside, where new forms of dispossession and deagrarianisation open the way to an unprecedented extractivist drive. Together, neoliberal developmentalism and extractivism have resulted in growing social dissent. The eruption of anger after the Soma coal mining disaster that killed 301 miners is one such case. The paper shows how Erdoğan and the AKP use populist tactics (ranging from an uptick in nationalist discourse to the provision of ‘coal aid’ in winter) to assuage their critics. Where these prove inadequate, an increasingly violent crackdown on social dissent is being deployed in the name of peace and order as the country remains in a state of emergency since the attempted coup of July 2016.
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|The Journal of Peasant Studies|
Adaman, F, Arsel, M, & Akbulut, B. (2018). Neoliberal developmentalism, authoritarian populism, and extractivism in the countryside: the Soma mining disaster in Turkey. The Journal of Peasant Studies. doi:10.1080/03066150.2018.1515737