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      The PKK's Newroz: Death and Moving Towards Freedom for Kurdistan

      Zanj: The Journal of Critical Global South Studies
      Pluto Journals
      PKK, Newroz, martyrdom, martyrs, cosmology, Kurdistan, Kurds


            The PKK's patronage of Newroz has changed its historical and contextual development. Previous studies have shown how the PKK made Newroz into a festival for Kurdish ‘counter hegemony', but have not paid sufficient attention to the performance of the celebration itself and its concurrent role in the PKK's political universe. This article presents an ethnographic study of how Newroz became a vehicle for disseminating the PKK's political ideology, and how it reveals cosmological ideas about agency, time, social formations, and the eventuality of freedom. The paper argues that through celebrating under the auspices of ‘the martyrs', who are incorporated in the figure of Abdullah Öcalan, the dead become re-animated and promise the potential for the arrival of a new, free time as well as illustrate the social organization and personal agency needed to achieve it. The paper uses this to expand on theories concerning the relation of death to social life, and argues that Newroz shows how the dead may go beyond being vessels for social reproduction, to becoming potentially radically transformative figures. The source material derives from participant observation at Newroz in the PKK-controlled Qandil Mountains in Iraq in 2017, and from interviews and secondary sources from the celebration in the Maxmur refugee camp.


            Author and article information

            Zanj: The Journal of Critical Global South Studies
            Pluto Journals
            1 July 2018
            : 2
            : 1 ( doiID: 10.13169/zanjglobsoutstud.2.issue-1 )
            : 92-114
            University of Bergen
            © 2018 Global South Research Consortium

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            Custom metadata

            Political science,Political & Social philosophy,Movements,Epistemology,Cultural studies,Philosophy of culture


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