Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Collective memory and competition over identity in a conflict zone: the case of Dersim

Dinc, Pinar (2016) Collective memory and competition over identity in a conflict zone: the case of Dersim. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

[img] Text
Download (19MB)


Nations are not becoming conflict-free zones as once envisioned. They remain zones of conflict and of competition. It has been argued that competition over the memory of foundational events or of national identity can strengthen national identities. In some cases, however, competition brings more competition, leading only to fragmentation. When such competition continues without producing a definite outcome, the question remains: why is there continuous competition? This thesis answers this question through a case study, that of Dersim in the Turkish Republic. Despite appearing from the outside to be a unified zone of insurgent conflict against the Turkish state, Dersim is, in fact, a contested ground and a zone of conflict where multiple insurgent movements struggle not only against the state but also against each other. Why is it that Dersim remains a conflict zone in which the number of conflicting groups simply increases? Why do we not see a victorious or dominant movement but, rather, continuous competition that does not strengthen the nation but engenders new, ‘sub-nation(alism)s’? This thesis does two things. Firstly, it explains why there is this incessant competition. Secondly, it maps out the arenas in which this competition takes place, tracing its origins further back than the 1990s. I argue that competition continues because nationalist movements impose concepts of ethnicity and nationalism on the region in order to homogenise what remains a heterogeneous community. The outcome of this competition may not be ‘nation-building’ nor ‘strong collective identity,’ but neither does Dersim totally fragment. On the one hand, Dersimlis have been torn apart particularly by ethno-linguistic definitions of their collective identity that are unsuitable for the type of community it is. On the other, such is the tradition of resistance to the central authority in Ankara, that Dersimlis exhibit the same degree of solidarity that one finds in more cohesive nationalist movements.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Pinar Dinc
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Kissane, Bill

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics