Burcu Binbuğa


Burcu Binbuğa is a post-doctoral researcher at the Soft Authoritarianisms Research Group as well as the Department of Anthropology and Cultural Research and Sustainability Research Center (artec) at the University of Bremen. Previously, she was a lecturer and pos-doctoral researcher at Humboldt University, Berlin. She received her PhD from the Political Science Department at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Turkey.  
In her PhD thesis, she analyses recent environmental movements in Turkey in the global context of contemporary anti-neoliberal movements based on extensive field research. During her PhD, she was a research fellow at Humboldt University and the Centre for Southeast European Studies of Karl Franzens University, Graz. She has been the recipient of research grants funded by the Einstein Foundation, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Sabancı University Gender and Women's Studies Center and Karl Franzens-University, Graz.
Her research and teaching interests are in the fields of environmental politics, social movements, environmental activism and authoritarianism. Her current research at Bremen University examines the working of the political economy in current authoritarian Turkey, drawing the example of waste trade between European countries and Turkey.

  • Social Movements and Environmental Activism
  • Authoritarianism and Political Economy of Authoritarianism

  • Environmental Politics

  • Politics of Waste

  • Climate Justice

Current Research Project
Phantom’ Environmentalism: Waste Trade and Political Economy of Authoritarianism in Turkey

While it has become a global trend for countries of the Global North to ship their waste to the Global South (Cotta, 2020; Dreau, 2022), Turkey has only recently become Europe’s waste trade destination and one of the world’s largest plastic waste importers, especially from Germany. Regarding waste imports from European countries as an economic opportunity, Turkey fails to address the ecological consequences, which have increasingly triggered public critique. On the contrary, the governing party AKP presents waste trade as contributing to the green-circular economy through recycling and waste reduction in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. However, this waste trade not only highlights the janus face of Turkish governmental politics, it reveals the workings of the political economy in current authoritarian Turkey and how they are bound into the global trade relations. This includes among others crony capitalist relations, partisan law-making, weakening of independent regulatory and overseeing administrative bodies eroding rule of law, and oppression of the opposition. Drawing on the example of waste trade, this study aims at gaining specific insights on how the political economy under a soft authoritarian regime works. It will show how environmentalism is used as a ‘phantom’ (Keane, 2020) to deflect from its destructive economic practices, but also what this means for EU-Turkey relations.

Binbuga, B. (Forthcoming), Student Mobilization at Boğaziçi University Against Authoritarianism in Turkey, in Special Issue: The New Politics of Social and Authoritarianism in the Near East: Gender and Youth Politics and Movements  edited by Binbuga, B, Kutun M. & Yılmaz Z., Third World Quarterly (Taylor& Francis Online)

Binbuga, B. (Forthcoming), Tek Kelimeyle Hayat: Cerattepe'de Kadınların Maden Karşıtı Mücadelesi, in Şirin Tekeli’ye Armağan, edited by Çubukçu, S. & Şenol, F. [Language: Turkish; Just One Word: Life, Women’s Anti- Mining Struggle in Cerattepe, in For the Memory of Şirin Tekeli]

Binbuga Kınık, B.N. (2018), Nationalist Bias in Turkish Official Discourse on Hate Speech: A Rawlsian Criticism, Turkish Studies (Taylor&Francis Online), with Deveci C.,DOI: 10.1080/14683849.2018.1479961, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14683849.2018.1479961

Binbuga Kınık, B.N. (2016), Examining Hate Speech from the Perspective of Arendt’s Political Theory, METU Studies in Development, 43: 707-724, http://www2.feas.metu.edu.tr/metusd/ojs/index.php/metusd/article/view/884

BA Module 53079 Social Movements, Democratic Participation and Contentious Politics, WiSe2021-2022, Department of Social Sciences, Humboldt University, Berlin

MA Module 53070 Social Movements, Democratic Participation and Transformative Politics, WiSe2022-2023, Euromasters / Transatlantic Masters Program, Humboldt University, Berlin

Guest Lecturer, Türkiye’de Toplumsal Hareketler, WiSe 2020-21, WiSe &SuSe 2021-2022, Duisburg-Essen University [Language: Turkish; Social Movements in Turkey]

Guest Lecturer, Lecture Series on Mobility, Activism and Politics, WiSe 2021-2022, Department of Social Sciences, Humboldt University, Berlin