Eirini Avramopoulou is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Sociology Department of the University of Cambridge working on a new ethnographic research on the ‘human and social costs of economic crisis in Greece’. Eirini received a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and her work has been published in edited volumes and journals, including The Greek Review of Social Research, Cultural Anthropology/Hot Spots, Critical Interdisciplinarity (Kritiki Diepistimonikotita), and Thesis. Her research interests include anthropology of human rights, social movements and activism; gender and sexuality; secularism and Islam; queer theory, feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to subjectivity, biopolitics and affect.

She has participated and organised workshops, discussion panels and conferences related to affect, social movements and activism, as well as to issues of Islam and secularism in Europe, focusing on gender, ethnic minorities and immigrants, and delivered lectures on postcolonialism, feminism, gender and queer theory at the University of Cambridge (UK), Bosphorus University (Turkey), the University of Thessaly (Greece), and the University of Athens (Greece). At the moment she is completing her first monograph on affect, performativity, and gender-queer activism in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Agony of Stasis:
A Study of the Affects of Activism in Istanbul, Turkey

ICI Project 2013-14

This project focused on the formative, transformative and performative components of political language in its tight relation to affective dispositions by reference to ethnographic material deriving from an analysis of the claims, demands and desires of different activist groups in Istanbul, Turkey. In particular, focusing on the existing tension circulating between feminists, LGBT and religious women activists, as well as the activists’ interrelations and the formation of alliances in Istanbul, this research project unravels ethnographically sensitive dynamics that address philosophical questions of wholeness and fragmentation in divergent investments, ideologies, identifications and personal life paths. Moreover, it seeks to review the effects of power, subject formation and activists’ subjectivities when ideological interpellation defines the political spectrum within which ethnocentric, neoliberal and normative imaginings of female precariousness are formed.

At the same time, it locates in the non-discursive instances of silence, pain, hope, fear and desire processes that are able to buttress other political articulations. Therefore, while aiming to understand how the intertwining of politics and affect contributes to (trans-)forming new ethics of relationality, the analytical question of wholeness is being considered in relation to the agony of stasis, which I perceive to define contemporary political mobilisation and activism in Istanbul, suggesting that instead of attributing to affect a ‘wholeness’ that carries the positive force of vitality, it should be considered as mediated by an agonistic relation to acquiring a position or a stance, despite ambivalence, dissensions and discords.