Society for Psychological Anthropology

Begüm Ergun, Boston University

Ambiguous Politics of Care: Syrians’ Uncertain Life in Turkey

Begüm is broadly interested in understanding the kaleidoscopic interactions between the state, humanitarian aid organizations, and households by investigating the politics of care and alternative care practices in everyday life of Syrians in Turkey. Rather than simply document and reiterate the victimized narratives, Begüm proposes pondering on the psychic life of Syrians as intersubjective processes that are entangled with the state’s inconsistent and ambiguous politics of care and humanitarian aid organizations’ assumptions about traumas as completable and predictable trajectories. Also, her research aims to explore Syrian families’ phenomenologies and somatic experiences of displacement and investigate the self-narratives of subjects and abjects of care systems to trouble a linear and coherent understanding of victimhood and suffering. Putting psychological, political, and medical anthropology into dialogue, Begüm seeks to probe political violence and its material and immaterial reverberations as an ongoing set of processes contingent upon uncertain and temporary engagements of the past, present, and imagined future.