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Social Conflicts and Academia: Taking Sides or Staying Neutral – Lunch talk with Melih Kırlıdoğ

Lunch talk with Melih Kırlıdoğ: 
Social Conflicts and Academia: Taking Sides or Staying Neutral
Wednesday, 10 July 2017 · 1pm · HIIG Kitchen

We cordially invite you to this Open Brown-Bag Lunch at HIIG with associated researcher Melih Kırlıdoğ, HIIG research Max von Grafenstein and film producer Mustafa Altıoklar on social conflicts and academia.

Taking sides in a political or social cause is an important debate in academia. Some academics contend that such an action may distort the “impartiality” which is one of the pillars of social sciences. According to this line of thought, academy must be “detached” from social movements and debates or at least keep an equal distance to the opposing factions in order to understand the true nature of the events. However, some others argue that as intellectuals it is the responsibility of academics to be sensitive to their social environments and to take sides with what they see as right against wrong. It can be argued that this debate, which has a long history, accelerated after some scholars such as Chomsky and Bourdieu brought it to the spotlight of the contemporary academia: “Can intellectuals, and especially scholars, intervene in the political sphere? Must intellectuals partake in political debates as such, and if so, under what conditions can they interject themselves efficiently?” (Bourdieu, For a scholarship with commitment. Profession 2000).

Turkey’s Gezi uprising in 2013 constitutes a special case in academic literature where almost all papers in academic journals take side with the protesters and denounce the government’s policies in this issue. The only exception to this trend comes from an academic journal that is published by a pro-government foundation.

The findings of a literature analysis about the Gezi will be discussed along with the general concept of academics’ dilemma of supporting or staying neutral in social conflicts.

The Brown Bag Lunch is introduced by HIIG researcher Max von Grafenstein who will provide insights in his experiences in Turkey.

Concluding remarks: Mustafa Altıoklar (Medical doctor, script-writer, film director and producer) is a Turkish film director and medical doctor, who lost his job in Turkey after declaring the Turkish President as mentally sick (Portrait in taz.gazete).

Melih Kırlıdoğ
From 2002 to 2015, Melih worked as a faculty member in the Computer Engineering Department of Marmara University, Turkey. He is also affiliated with the North-West University in South Africa. His research interest include ICT in developing countries, Internet censorship and surveillance. Melih holds a BSc degree from Middle East Technical University, Turkey and MBA (in IS), PhD degrees from Wollongong University, Australia. He has worked in the ICT area for over twenty years in Turkey and Australia. Melih Kırlıdoğ is associated researcher at HIIG. 

Event date

10.07.2017 | 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm ical | gcal


Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society,  Französische Straße 9,  10117 Berlin


Florian Lüdtke

Ehem. Koordinator Wissenschaftskommunikation


This high-profile lecture series thrives to develop a European perspective on the processes of transformation that our societies are currently undergoing.


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