Understanding the implications of victimhood identity in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict

Nisan Alici*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter looks into the issues surrounding the construction and complexities of victimhood in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict, by primarily focusing on Kurds who have experienced state violence. Drawing on 24 in-depth interviews with individuals, who either have a victimisation experience or worked closely with victim groups, the chapter focuses on the connotations of the term victim and analyses (1) how victims identify and make sense of their victimhood and (2) what various perceptions of victimhood the grassroots actors hold. Most of my interviews entail an understanding of victimhood that imply the vulnerabilities of victims automatically means stripping the victims from their agency. However, the dominant understanding that emphasises the empowerment and resistance of the victims, risks ignoring some essential parts of the victimisation experience. Vulnerability and agency are not mutually exclusive; and difficult emotions such as pain, mourning, anger, and despair can coexist with agency, empowerment, and resistance. Instead of thinking in binaries, I propose a more complex, and multidimensional understanding of victimhood that leaves space for vulnerabilities as much as empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication The political psychology of Kurds in Turkey
EditorsErcan Sen, Elif Sandal Onal, Mete Sefa Uysal, Yasemin Gulsum Acar
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783031332913
ISBN (Print)9783031332906
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Political Psychology
ISSN (Print)2946-2592
ISSN (Electronic)2946-2606


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