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From Icons to Emblematic Cases

The Media and Murders of Women in Turkey

In: Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication
Authors:
Åsa Eldén Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Turkey asae@sri.org.tr

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Berna Ekal École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris, France berna.ekal@gmail.com

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Over the last few years Turkey has seen a changed media visibility of gendered violence, mainly reflected in news and discussions about femicides (murders of women). Once treated as fait-divers, such news now appears on the first pages, or is given the status of ‘special news’. In this process, some cases have become what we call emblematic: stories given an importance reaching far beyond the individual case and thus important in the production of politics on violence against women. Analyzing the dynamics that create emblematic cases by way of the story of Ayşe Paşalı, we argue that not only important public figures, but also ‘ordinary’ people can gain iconic status in the media; this in turn enables the media to demand, on behalf of the women’s movement, that the state take action. Here the strategy of linking ‘ordinary’ cases was picked up by the media and contributed to push the state to show engagement.

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