As a qualitative researcher, I analyze the temporal dynamics of socio-political life through experiences of time, narratives of time, and practices of timing. Temporal experiences, narratives, and practices not only shape and are shaped by political horizons, discourses, and imaginations, but are also embedded in everyday material life. In my previous research on the participatory-democratic local assemblies in Istanbul, the interconnectedness of the temporal and the material manifested in activists’ tactics and the organizational structures that they built. In the same study, I also found that resistance against an authoritarian regime accentuated a “politics of anticipation” where the future itself became the terrain of contention. The politics of anticipation involved both the futurity that is inherent in politics, and also the necessity on the part of the activists to constantly reorient themselves and each other towards anticipated futures.
My current theoretical project aims to conceptualize “political time” and the “political calendar,” taking inspiration from Barbara Adam’s timescape perspective and Bourdieu’s concept of the political field; incorporating insights from cultural sociology and the theory of interaction, especially the work of Nina Eliasoph and Iddo Tavory. With this project, I seek to contribute a conceptual tool to talk about time in politics, to bridge different studies and disciplines.
My work thus far has focused on the temporal interactions between activists and the regime in Turkey. Moving forward, my next research project will be on how the above mentioned temporal dynamics play a role in creating and maintaining specifically raced, classed, and gendered inequalities in the climate justice movement in the UK. Barbara Adam is again an inspiration, along with Sarah Sharma, Sara Pursley, Lisa Baraitser, Judy Wajcman, Laura Bear, among other critical thinkers.
This body of work seeks ultimately to contribute to developing the political sociology of time, sociology of time and the future, and critical time studies, as well as political sociology and sociological theory more broadly.
Dr. Birgan Gokmenoglu is a political ethnographer whose research interests are in social and political theory, social movements and contentious politics, time and temporality, alternatives to liberal democracy, and struggles for social justice. She holds a PhD in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics and an MA in Sociology from the University of Southern California. She is currently Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Sociology at Birmingham City University (UK).