Rethinking Internal Colonialism: Radicalization of the Kurdish Movement in Turkey
Keywords:internal colonialism, peripheral identities, Kurdish conflict, radicalization, PKK
The thesis of internal colonialism offers a controversial center-periphery approach to the diffusion model when explaining the persistence of peripheral ethnic identities in Western nation-states. Associating persistent nationalist mobilization in the ethnically different peripheral regions with the cultural division of labor showed some potential in explaining the cases observed in the British Isles, Brittany and Quebec. In some other cases with solid peripheral national economies, such as Basque Country and Catalonia, however, the thesis of internal colonialism was considered paradoxical and became the target of criticism. This study examines the role of internal colonialism in the radicalization of the Kurdish movement in Turkey. The empirical field research based on in-depth interviews with PKK militants from three consecutive generations provides qualitative evidence regarding the impacts of colonial settings in this process. Social consequences emerging from internal colonialism constitute an essential motivation and justification expressed by actors involved in armed struggle against what they define as Turkish colonial rule.
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