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Keywords:

  • occidentalism;
  • orientalism;
  • the Roma;
  • Turkey;
  • small towns

Abstract:  By looking at the electoral politics in a small town in Turkey, this article aims to illustrate how the political scene is polarised with counterpoised representations of East and West, alongside Occidentalist aspirations. The division supplies a set of ready-made explanations regarding “backwardness, poverty and corruption”. However, although different frameworks are employed in line with the political orientations of respective parties, particular political demands and courses of action are systematically dismissed. The poor and the repressed are hardly listened to. Yet worse, they are “explained” in advance by the antagonistic pair of the East and the West. This article is an ethnographic exploration of how their demands fall in neither side, and how attending them could challenge the existing political realm.