How crowds transform identities

Yasemin Gülsüm Acar, Stephen Reicher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter looks at how crowds have the ability to create and perform a common identity that is either heterogeneous and expansive or narrow and restrictive. Both are situated in contemporary Turkey: on the one hand, the Gezi Park protests started in June 2013 to oppose the destruction of the park in İstanbul. The protests brought together disparate groups with little in common other than their opposition to the ruling Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party). On the other hand, in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt, at the behest of President Erdoğan, crowds formed in town squares across the country in “Democracy Watches” gatherings as a symbol of the preservation of the government. While the Gezi Park protests were bottom-up, made up of different groups that ultimately created a more inclusive notion of citizenship and collective destiny, the post-coup rallies were top-down and conveyed a more exclusive representation of the nation and its historic significance. Overall, we intend to show the importance of redefining identity and intergroup histories through collective practices embodied in crowds, and to discuss the practical implications of crowds as a vehicle to (re-)form communities, beyond the legal and institutional spheres.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIn the shadow of transitional justice
Subtitle of host publicationCross-national perspectives on the transformative potential of remembrance
EditorsGuy Elcheroth, Neloufer de Mel
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003167280
ISBN (Print)9780367765101
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2021


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