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ISEK - Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies Social and Cultural Anthropology

Lesetipp von Zeynep Sariaslan

I came across Starve and Immolate (Columbia University Press, 2014) when collectively and individually initiated hunger strikes were announced both inside and outside of prisons in Turkey. Becoming visible after many years and turning state oppression upside down, this radical form of resistance started a public debate. Soon after, the book appeared on number of Facebook pages in Turkey as a political statement and as an invitation to oppositional political circles for a reconsideration of hunger strikes.

Banu Bargu (PhD, Government, Cornell) is Associate Professor of Politics at the New School for Social Research. Starve and Immolate is based on a research conducted between 2000 and 2007 in Turkey, however she invites to see similar self-destructive forms of protest as a continuum. Burgu argues that hunger strikes evolving into death fast struggle are “the process of the biopolitization of sovereignty meets the necropolitization of resistance.” (27) In the book, she analyzes narratives of both protestors and the political power by asking simple questions: why state overreacts to such a marginalized protest and why imprisoners chose this way to protest for betterment of prison conditions. Burgu’s book not only brings together political theory with political ethnography, but also contributes to the anthropology of the margins for a deeper understanding of the state.

Bargu, Banu. 2014. Starve and immolate. The politics of human weapons. New York: Columbia University Press.

Can be borrowed from the library Ethnology: ESZ M: 743

You can listen to an interview with the author in the following link:


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