The proposed research aims to explore, understand and analytically grasp the changing dynamics of politics, policy making and the political within the comparative context of the periphery of Europe during the latest global-cum-European financial and political crisis of the late 2000s. Against the background of consistent governmental attempts to remove the political character of decision making processes at state level across a variety of policy areas (i.e. depoliticization as a governing strategy) and its societal reflection in rising apathy in political engagement over the past couple of decades across the globe, the recent crisis presents a number of significant challenges to such a strategy both at state and societal level. These challenges appear in the form of different (re-)politicization(s) across Europe and the globe (i.e. the Occupy movement, social and political uprisings particularly in the Southern Eurozone countries of Greece, Spain, and North Africa as well as most recently in Turkey). This apparent contrasting orientation of state-driven and society-driven forms of political agency under capitalism need to be assessed in a relational fashion within a critical, holistic theoretical framework.
Therefore the study seeks answers to the following broadly-defined questions:
In the current crisis do depoliticizing forms of governing continue shaping domestic policy making processes and public perception regarding the boundaries of politics and the political or are we instead (or synchronously) witnessing processes of intensifying societal and governmental re-politicization? If so, how could this relationship be conceptualized in a critical comparative manner?
What are (if any) the long-term implications of these contingent and conflict-ridden developments in shaping the characteristics of the polity, political agency and policymaking under capitalism?
What kind of lessons could be drawn in understanding and devising effective means to engage with the novel forms of societal re-politicization(s) emerging from the early 2010s onwards for an emancipatory, transformative agenda?
The proposed study theoretically draws on a critical political economy approach to depoliticization and politicization understood as governing strategies that are devised and implemented by the state managers in managing intrinsically crisis-ridden social relations and as open-ended conflict-ridden processes involving broader societal actors beyond the governmental realm.
In concrete terms, the initial focus will be on a critical comparative assessment of two country cases which are politically and economically located within the periphery of Europe, Hungary and Turkey. A qualitative methodology will be adopted in order to be able to identify and explore the aforementioned changes materially and discursively.