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Dialogue in polarized societies: women’s encounters with multiple others

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 February 2021

Ayşe Betül Çelik
Affiliation:
Sabancı University, Orhanlı, Tuzla İstanbul, Turkey34956; bcelik@sabanciuniv.edu
Zeynep Gülru Göker
Affiliation:
Sabancı University, Gender and Women’s Studies Center of Excellence, Orhanlı, Tuzla, İstanbul, Turkey34956; gulru.goker@sabanciuniv.edu

Abstract

Based on the analysis of a meeting with nineteen women from civil society with diverse backgrounds, invited to discuss what has gone wrong in Turkey’s Kurdish peace process and what women can do for peace in a highly polarized atmosphere, this article explores women’s dialogue in a conflict situation. With insights from deliberative and agonistic perspectives, the article shows that in a multiple-identity conflict, topical shifts in dialogue are accompanied by shifting alliances. The search for mutual definitions on conflictual issues renders the deliberation of sensitive issues difficult, so women circumvent polarizing discourses through indirect and covert language. However, the discussion of gender-based experiences with direct, contestational language helps women underline shared issues and address resentments. Dialogue’s transformative potential also depends on the existence of trust and an intersectionality perspective for which further dialogic initiatives should develop strategies.

Type
Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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