Bilgin Ayata, Cilja Harders – 2019
We propose the concept of Midān moments to engage with the affective dimensions of political protest and mass mobilization. It allows for an analysis of political transformations during and after mass protests that accounts for the non-linear, multidirectional, and at times contradictory developments in the aftermath of such struggles. In contrast to much of the scholarly work in Social Movement Studies, the proposed concept combines agency, time and space in relation to emotions and affect to capture the more inchoate and incoherent dimensions of political emotions. The concept is grounded in the analysis of the occupations of Tahrir Square, Egypt (2011) and Gezi Park, Turkey (2013), complicating dominant narratives of either a “utopian square” or of a “failed revolution.” Midān moments are moments of rupture in which pre-existing emotional repertoires of fear, hate, repression, or reverence for the political order are destabilized. They are imbued with a sense of possibility for social and political change and, at the same time, already contain the limits of these possibilities. Midān moments can travel both in time and space, evoking new forms of formal or informal political practices, but also further polarization.