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Arik, Hülya, Selin Çağatay, Mia Liinason, and Olga Sasunkevich. “Unsettling the political: conceptualizing the political in feminist and LGBTI+ activism across Russia, the Scandinavian countries, and Turkey.” International Feminist Journal of Politics (2022): 1-24.


This article aims to expand the ongoing theoretical debate on the broadened and context-specific notion of politics by offering an empirically nuanced conceptualization of the political based on the study of feminist and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI+) activism in Russia, Turkey, and the Scandinavian countries. We use a multi-scalar transnational approach to foreground connectivities across regions to challenge nation-bound and state-centric perspectives on politics and reveal the various formulations beyond the formal/informal divide. Case studies from feminist and LGBTI+ activists and minority organizations demonstrate context-specific ways of inhabiting or distancing from politics. Drawing on interdisciplinary feminist scholarship and a Gramscian approach to civil society, we challenge the narrow articulation of politics either as antagonism or contestation. In doing so, we highlight the political expressions that do not neatly fit into the expected forms of politics, yet are motivated by a commitment to shaping new ways of living together.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.