CARGC Colloquium: Ergin Bulut, Koç University

Turkey’s Television Dramas and Authoritarianism from Below: Nationalist Imaginaries, Cynical Ideologies, and Precarious Bodies
Bulut Colloquium
23 Jan 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
3901 Walnut Street, 6th Floor
Open to the Public

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About the Talk

Although freedom of speech is a rare item in Turkey’s media ecology, there is a realm of contemporary culture where production has exploded: television dramas. Now reaching global audiences across the Middle East, the Balkans, Latin America, and to a certain extent Europe, television dramas constitute influential media contraflows from Turkey. In this talk, I will propose to understand the formation of authoritarianism in Turkey through this specific realm of popular culture. Drawing on four-year-long ethnographic research, I will demonstrate how industrial actors – above and below the line – contribute to the formation of authoritarian politics. Challenging leader-centric and electoral explanations, I argue that authoritarian populism makes and remakes itself through industry professionals’ masculinist and nationalist imaginaries, as well as their cynical ideologies. In addition, authoritarian populism manifests itself through the despotic labor regime that painfully marks the bodies of workers in this industry. Overall, through an interdisciplinary conversation across media studies, populism studies, and media industry studies, this talk calls for the need to recuperate ideology and the body in understanding contemporary mediated politics and the dynamics of media industries.

About the Speaker

Ergin Bulut researches in the area of political economy of media industries and cultural production, video game studies, media and politics, and critical theory. His work has been published in Media, Culture & Society, Triple C, International Journal of Communication, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Television and New Media, Communication and Critical-Cultural Studies. Bulut is currently a visiting researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton and a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication. His book, A Precarious Game: The Illusion of Dream Jobs in the Video Game Industry, will be published in 2020 from Cornell University Press. 

Lunch begins at 11:45. Space is limited, RSVP to

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