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State as Socionatural Effect: Variable and Emergent Geographies of the State in Southeastern Turkey Harris, Leila 2012

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2 5                 Com par ati ve  Stu die s o f          Sou th  Asi a, A fric a a nd          the  Mi ddl e E ast              Vo l. 3 2, N o. 1 , 20 12          d oi 1 0.12 15/ 108 920 1x- 154 534 5      ©  20 12 b y D uke  Un ive rsit y P res s    State as Socionatural Effect:  Variable and Emergent Geographies  of the State in Southeastern Turkey Leila M. Harris Dams were unique in the scope and manner in which they altered the distribution of resources across space and time, among entire communities and ecosystems. They oered more than just a promise of agricultural development or technical progress. For many postcolonial governments, this ability to rearrange the natural and social environment became a means to demonstrate the strength of the modern state as a techno- economic power. —Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno- politics, Modernity The process of mapping, bounding, containing and controlling nature and citizenry are what make a state a state. States come into being through these claims and the assertion of control over territory, resources, and people. —Roderick P. Neumann, “Nature- State- Territory: Toward a Critical Theorization of Conservation Enclosures” Socionatures, Everyday States, and Boundary Work he relationship between states and environmental change has been a topic of increas- ing interest over the past several decades. Some have suggested that environmental issues pose a fundamental challenge to the state system and state capacity. Still oth- ers have attempted to understand the diverse ways that states mobilize, contest, and negoti- ate “natures” as a central facet of state power and control, including eorts to make nature legible and controllable. As Mitchell asserts with the above quotation, states demonstrate strength and power through rearrangements of socionatural environments, while Neumann suggests that the very notion of stateness is wrapped up with control of nature and citizenry. Mark Whitehead, Rhys Jones, and Martin Jones open up a broader set of questions to under- stand the diverse ways that states rely on, manage, and negotiate natures as central to state legitimacy or state building. Building on works of this type, my argument contributes to a 1. See Andrew Hurell, “The State,” in Political Theory and the Eco- logical Challenge, ed. Andrew Dobson and Robyn Eckersley (Cam- bridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 165 – 82; and Hallie  Eakin and Maria Carmen Lemos, “Adaptation and the State:  Latin America and the Challenge of Capacity- Building under Glo- balization,” Global Environmental Change 16 (2006): 7 – 18. 2. See, e.g., Marius de Geus, “The Ecological Restructuring of the  State,” in Democracy and Green Political Thought: Sustainability, Rights, and Citizenship, ed. Brian Doherty and Marius de Geus  (New York: Routledge, 1996), 188 – 211; James C. Scott, Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998); and  Bruce Willems- Braun, “Buried Epistemologies: The Politics of  Nature in (Post)colonial British Columbia,” Annals of the Asso- ciation of American Geographers 87 (1997): 3 – 31. 3.  See Mark Whitehead, Rhys Jones, and Martin Jones, The Na- ture of the State: Excavating the Political Ecologies of the Modern State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).2 6                                   C om par ati ve                               S tud ies  of                        So uth  As ia,                 Af rica  an d t he           Mi ddl e E ast theorization of environmental changes and so- cionatural relations as key to state consolidation and shifting state- society relations. I focus on elemental concerns from political ecology and social- natures perspectives, including spatioter- ritoriality, inequality and resource access, scale, and biophysical conditions, to enliven these in- tersections. I also further these discussions by arguing that in the Turkish case, environmen- tal and developmental transformations (e.g., changing agroecologies and access to water) and associated infrastructural works (e.g., dams and irrigation canalets — raised concrete ca- nals for irrigation delivery) can be understood as part and parcel of what enables the bound- ary between state and society to appear — what Mitchell labels the “state eect.” The article proceeds by first providing an overview of several literatures: everyday and ethnographic approaches to states and state- ness, Mitchell’s “state as eect,” and political- ecological and state- nature discussions, in- cluding key contributions oered by James C. Scott in Seeing like a State. I then provide detail on the case study of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (Guneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, or GAP) and developmental and environmental changes in Turkey to provide an illustration of the ways that state- society relations and understandings of the Turkish state are evolving in relation to ongoing waterscape and infrastructural trans- formation in the upper Tigris- Euphrates basin. The case study material relies primarily on in- terviews, participant observation, and a survey of recently irrigated villages conducted in  (with follow- up work done in , , and  [see n. ]). Through theoretical back- ground and empirical discussion, the article oers four linked contributions. First, I detail ways that attention to developmental and en- vironmental changes allows us to understand the Turkish state as dierentiated not only so- ciospatially, culturally, and historically but also in relation to resource conditions, use, access, and other biophysical realities. Second, I pro- pose that the state and state- society relations are undergoing important revision with ongo- ing irrigation and waterscape changes. Third, I concur with those who argue that political-  ecological and socionatural approaches might be particularly fruitful for state theory. In particular, I argue that there are several key themes of interest, including spatiotemporali- ties of resources, inequality and dierentiated access to resources, scale, and biophysical and materialites of natures. These analytics are use- ful both to understand differentiated states and to potentially expose key practices through which distinctions between state and society are invoked and consolidated — the state effect. Fourth, building on Scott in conversation with the case study, I argue that scalar dynamics may further our theorization of states, state- society dynamics, and state- nature intersections. I now turn to an overview of relevant theoretical dis- cussions before providing the ethnographic ma- terial from southeastern Turkey. Approaching States:  Everyday States and Geographies of Stateness As Wendy Brown writes, “Despite the almost un- avoidable tendency to speak of the state as an ‘it,’ the domain we call the state is not a thing, a system or subject, but a significantly unbounded terrain of powers and techniques, an ensemble of discourses, rules, and practices.” A large body of work has arisen over the past several decades precisely seeking to understand the state through everyday social interactions and experiences. Yael Navaro- Yashin provides one example, allowing for an analysis of “people and the state, not as an opposition, but as the same 4.  See ibid.; Paul Robbins, “The State in Political  Ecology: A Postcard to Political Geography from the  Field,” in The Sage Handbook of Political Geography,  ed. Kevin R. Cox, Murray Low, and Jennifer Robinson  (London: Sage, 2008), 205 – 18; and Noel Castree and  Bruce Braun, eds., Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millennium (New York: Routledge, 1998). 5. Timothy Mitchell, “The Limits of the State: Beyond  Statist Approaches and Their Critics,” American Politi- cal Science Review 85 (1991): 77 – 96. 6. Cf. Joe Painter, “Prosaic Geographies of Stateness,”  Political Geography 25 (2006): 752 – 74; and Sallie A.  Marston, “Space, Culture, State: Uneven Develop- ments in Political Geography,” Political Geography 23  (2004): 1 – 16. 7. Cf. Mitchell, “Limits of the State.”  8. See Scott, Seeing like a State. 9. Wendy Brown, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 174. 10.  See, e.g., Joel Migdal, State in Society: Studying How States and Societies Transform and Constitute One Another  (Cambridge: Cambridge University  Press, 2001); Akhil Gupta, “Blurred Boundaries: The  Discourse of Corruption, the Culture of Politics, and  the Imagined State,” American Ethnologist 22 (1995):  375 – 402; and Anna J. Secor, “Between Longing and  Despair: State, Space, and Subjectivity in Turkey,”  Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25  (2007): 33 – 52. See also the discussion in Stuart Cor- bridge, “State and Society,” in Cox et al., Sage Hand- book of Political Geography, 107 – 21.2 7 Le ila  M . H ar ri s  St at e  as  S oc io n at u ra l E ff ec t:    G eo gr ap h ie s  of  t h e  St at e  in  S ou th ea st er n  T u rk ey domain.”  Joe Painter highlights the “prosaic geographies of stateness,” suggesting that social life is suused by state practices and that the state is experienced in ways that are necessarily uneven and dierentiated temporally and so- ciospatially. He argues that the “state emerges as an imagined collective actor partly through the telling of stories of statehood and the pro- duction of narrative accounts of state power.” Together these approaches suggest that the state should necessarily be read in relation to how it is understood, experienced, and consti- tuted through everyday spaces, practices, and narrations. Situating “State as Effect” While others have taken the impossibility of defining the boundary between state and soci- ety as reason to abandon the state as an object of inquiry, Mitchell suggests instead that this provides reason to take states seriously — the imperative is to trace the specific practices through which the state- society boundary takes hold. He provides one of the most established bases for understanding “that states are never ‘formed’ once and for all” but, rather, that state formation is an ongoing project. With this framing, Mitchell effectively turns the logic of state- society work from seek- ing to understand the effects of the state on society to considering the processes and tech- nologies through which the concept of the state emerges and appears as a discrete object. He clarifies, “Rather than searching for a definition that will fix the boundary, we need to examine the detailed political processes through which the uncertain yet powerful distinction between the state and society is produced.” The study oered here takes up this imperative. Focusing on changing socionatures, the empirical exam- ples from southeastern Turkey reveal that while experiences of the Turkish state dier signifi- cantly sociospatially, culturally, or historically, they nonetheless cohere by giving substance to the idea of state as distinct from society — the “state eect.” To date, only a handful of other studies have taken on the task of providing illustrations of Mitchell’s theoretical contribution. Navaro-  Yashin offers one case, considering how the state- society division is invoked through secu- larist and Islamic discourse in contemporary Turkey. As she describes, secularists invoke the sphere of civil society as distinct from the state in order to gain legitimacy as a democracy with a viable public sphere, while Islamists position the secular state as outside of, and inauthen- tic with respect to, Turkish culture (and Sunni Islam). Painter oers another case, drawing on public policy in the United Kingdom to discuss the emergence of “stateness.” He argues that “stateness” (or the bundle of characteristics as- sociated with states) is actualized in countless mundane social and material practices and as such suggests that the state- society distinction serves as a symbolic resource on which people draw, producing real eects. My work here ex- tends these contributions and links to broader debates related to “boundary work” — highlight- ing the specific discourses and practices through which boundaries are established, given mean- ing, and made to appear as fixed or natural. 11. Yael Navaro- Yashin, Faces of the State: Secularism and Public Life in Turkey (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Uni- versity Press, 2002), 2. 12.  See Painter, “Prosaic Geographies of Stateness.”  Stateness refers to the historical and geographical  understandings of and associations with states, in- cluding characteristics that might be linked with  states at particular times and places, and how these  associations might change.  13.  Ibid., 761. 14. See Mitchell, “Limits of the State.” Theorists who  work on this boundary problem are generally in- debted to Antonio Gramsci’s work, suggesting that  there is no possibility of theorizing states apart from  social- economic processes (see Antonio Gramsci, Se- lections from the Prison Notebooks [1971; repr., New  York: International, 1997]). For discussion, see, e.g.,  Bob Jessop, “Bringing the State Back In (Yet Again):  Reviews, Revisions, Rejections, and Redirections,”  published by the Department of Sociology, Lancaster  University, Lancaster, UK, www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/ sociology/papers/Jessop- Bringing- the- State- Back  - In.pdf; or Kiran Asher and Diana Ojeda, “Producing  Nature and Making the State: Ordenamiento Territo- rial in the Pacific Lowlands of Colombia,” Geoforum  40 (2009):292 – 302. 15. George Steinmetz, ed., introduction to State/Culture: State Formation after the Cultural Turn (Ithaca, NY: Cor- nell University Press, 1999), 9. 16. Mitchell, “Limits of the State,” 78. 17.  See Thomas F. Gieryn, “Boundary- Work and the  Demarcation of Science from Non- science: Strains  and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists,”  American Sociological Review 48 (1983): 781 – 95; Reece  Jones, “Categories, Borders, and Boundaries,” Progress in Human Geography 33 (2009): 174 – 89; Judith But- ler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (New York: Routledge, 1993); and Anssi Paasi,  “The Changing Discourses on Political Boundaries:  Mapping the Backgrounds, Contexts, and Contents,”  in B/ordering Space, ed. Henk Van Houtum, Olivier  Kramsch, and Wolfgang Zierhofer (Aldershot, UK:  Ashgate, 2005), 17 – 32.2 8                                   C om par ati ve                               S tud ies  of                        So uth  As ia,                 Af rica  an d t he           Mi ddl e E ast State- Natures and Political Ecologies of States Other conceptual resources central to this project include the recent literatures on state- natures and political- ecological approaches to states. As Paul Robbins suggests, although the state has long been a focus for political- ecological studies (considering state policies or subsidies), there is a continuing need to detail how state practices transform environments and also, important for my purposes, how the state is consolidated, and constituted, in relation to “nature.” A contribution by Whitehead, Jones, and Jones similarly calls for enriched attention to “state natures,” including the ways that states frame and represent the natural world, the role of resources in state and nation building, and the ways that nature figures in state territorial- ization or centralization. While these authors cite several examples of work of this type, for instance, Roderick Neumann’s work on con- servation territories as central to colonial state control in eastern Africa, these authors con- clude that there is a need to extend work on these themes. While I do not have the space to discuss all of their specific contributions here, several other works also usefully describe link- ages among states, natures, and resources is- sues and so provide a useful foundation for this work. Together these works introduce a set of questions of interest, from considering how cer- tain populations and locations are constituted as external to state interests, to specifying ways that transformations of nature may serve to le- gitimate state practices or institutions or ways that state formation occurs unevenly in relation to specific biophysical realities. Given the themes of interest for this study, it would be impossible not to also address Scott’s pivotal work, Seeing like a State. Scott provides a host of examples, from state forestry to villagiza- tion in Tanzania, to detail ways that statist “high modernism” often sacrifices complexity to sim- plification, legibility, and homogenization. He has been taken to task for a number of theoreti- cal ellipses in his work, including the failure to explicitly theorize the very object of his study — states. Notwithstanding these shortcomings, his work has become one of the most- cited discussions of state- environment- development linkages. The degree of uptake of his work across the social sciences suggests that there are elements of his work that are important and hold traction for understandings of nature, de- velopment, and state building. Thus I revisit his contributions after examining the case study of GAP in the next section. With respect to Scott, I argue that perhaps his attention to scale and grand schemes of socioenvironmental engineer- ing is a meaningful contribution that requires further consideration by state theorists. Narratives of State- Led Change from  a Border Region With even a cursory understanding of Turkish history and politics, the salience of the rural southeast as an extreme site to investigate the Turkish state should be clear. The only predom- inantly Kurdish region in contemporary Turkey, southeastern Anatolia has also been the primary site of the decades- long conflict related to Kurd- ish separatism. More recently, the southeast has also been a focal point for rising Islamisms, 18. See Robbins, “State in Political Ecology.” 19. See Whitehead et al., Nature of the State. 20. See Roderick P. Neumann, “Nature-State- Territory: Toward a Critical Theorization of Conserva- tion Enclosures,” in Liberation Ecologies: Environment, Development, Social Movements, ed. Richard Peet and  Michael Watts (London: Routledge, 2004), 195–217. 21.  For more on the role of nature in state formation,  see Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan,Modern For- ests: Statemaking and Environmental Change in Colo- nial Eastern India (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999); Asher and Ojeda, “Producing Nature andMaking the State”; and LeilaM. Harris and Samer Alatout, “Negotiating Hydro-scales, Forging States: Comparison of the Upper Tigris-Euphrates and Jordan River Basins,” Political Geography 29 (2010): 148–56. 22. See Scott, Seeing like a State. Among critics it has been noted that Scott’s “state” is overly simplisti- cally equatedwith highmodernism, standardization, and scientific arrogance. Fernando Coronil also finds fault with Scott’s treatment of state and society as neat and distinct categories (Coronil, “Smelling like  a Market,” American Historical Review 106 (2001):  114–18).See also Robbins, “State in Political Ecology”; Akhil Gupta, “Review of J. Scott: Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condi- tion Have Failed,” Journal of Asian Studies 58 (1999): 1093–95; and Tania Murray Li, “Beyond ‘the State’ and Failed Schemes,” American Anthropologist 107  (2005): 383–94. 23. For an overview of GAP, see I. H. Olcay Ünver, “Southeastern Anatolia Integrated Development  Project (GAP), Turkey: An Overview of Issues of Sus- tainability,”Water Resources Development 13 (1997): 187 – 207. For critical analyses, see Leila M. Harris, “Water and Conflict Geographies of the Southeast- ern Anatolia Project,” Society and Natural Resources  15 (2002): 743 – 59; Leila M. Harris, “Irrigation, Gen- der, and Social Geographies ofWaterscape Evolution in Southeastern Turkey,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 24 (2006): 187 – 213; and Leila  M. Harris, “Modernizing the Nation: Postcolonial- ism, (Post)Development, and Ambivalent Spaces of  Difference in Southeastern Turkey,” Geoforum 39  (2008): 1698–708. See also Leila M. Harris, “States at the Limit: Tracing Contemporary State-Society Rela- tions in the Borderlands of Southeastern Turkey,” Eu- ropean Journal of Turkish Studies 10 (2009).  24. For more details on the Kurdish question, see Kemal Kirisci and Gareth M. Winrow, The Kurdish Question and Turkey: An Example of Trans-state Eth- nic Conflict (London: Frank Cass, 1997).2 9 Le ila  M . H ar ri s  St at e  as  S oc io n at u ra l E ff ec t:    G eo gr ap h ie s  of  t h e  St at e  in  S ou th ea st er n  T u rk ey a contentious staging ground for attacks against neighboring Iraq, and a fulcrum of European Union human rights concerns. As such, Arabic- and Kurdish- speaking villages in the southeast constitute both a literal and a figurative border of the reach and extent of Turkish language, legitimacy, and state influence. As a large- scale water- related development project in the upper Tigris- Euphrates basin that involves a complex of twenty- one dams and extensive irrigation in- frastructure, GAP is transforming waterscapes, water use and access, and biophysical realities of the region. With these changes, this article asks: how does GAP fundamentally alter villagers’ understandings, narratives, and imaginaries of the Turkish state? Further, how do shifting nar- ratives also serve to isolate the state as a sphere seemingly distinct from society? State Productions: Infrastructure and  Consolidation of the Borderlands In many ways, the massive scale of infrastruc- ture associated with the southeastern Anato- lia project extends and solidifies Turkish state influence in this contested border region. For instance, the establishment of canalet irrigation up to the border with Syria, but not beyond, is an inscription that marks the boundary of what lies “within” and “without” modern Turkey. As with other large dam- building projects, the scale and engineering feats of GAP play cen- trally on nationalist imaginings, with images of the Atatürk Dam appearing on Turkish lira banknotes and with attribution for the project’s inspiration going to Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk ( – 	). The dam- ming and diversion of Tigris and Euphrates waters also involves a range of novel state prac- tices. For instance, the coming of irrigation re- quired a flurry of activity to prepare the fields; state agents from the Devlet Su İsleri (DSİ; State Hydraulic Works) built the canalets, Vil- lage Services and other agencies built roads and began land leveling, and engineers conducted research that led to the establishment of drink- ing wells and water user groups. In all of these instances the “contact zones” with the state in this rural border area have been extended and intensified. To tell the story of varied and changing narrations and understandings of the Turk- ish state in relation to GAP, I follow the flow of the Euphrates water from the new dams on the river to areas where it is being diverted for ir- rigation and also to other areas where future ir- rigation delivery is planned. At each of these sites, I draw on interview and survey responses to tell the story of how the state is importantly dierentiated by this infrastructure and by bio- physical conditions, as well as how state- society relations are evolving in relation to the emer- gent waterscape. I also show ways that the state is dierentiated as a sphere seemingly distinct from society in part through these narratives of change as well as the massive scale of the transformation under way. I begin very near to the Atatürk Dam (including the nearby half-  inundated town of Halfeti) and then follow the water to the newly irrigated Harran plain. In the plain, villagers are adapting to new irrigation possibilities. In the same spaces, one encounters very distinct narrations of the state from those who had relied heavily on animal husbandry and from Kurdish migrant workers who “follow the water” to work as seasonal laborers. Moving back north, I then trace understandings of the state in areas slated to receive irrigation water in the future, in another town very near the Atatürk Dam reservoir and the town of Yaytaş outside Diyarbakir. By tracing variable concep- tions of the state across these sites, we can un- derstand how state- society relations shift in rela- 25. On nationalism with respect to dam building, see  Patrick McCully, Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Pol- itics of Large Dams (London: Zed Books, 1996); and  Daniel Klingensmith, One Valley and a Thousand: Dams, Nationalism, and Development (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2007). On Atatürk and GAP  in particular, see Harris, “Modernizing the Nation”;  and Leila M. Harris and Samer Alatout, “Negotiat- ing Hydro- scales, Forging States: Comparison of the  upper Tigris/Euphrates and Jordan River Basins,” Po- litical Geography 29 (2010): 148 – 56. 26. See Harris, “States at the Limit.” 27. Much of this research was conducted in 2001,  with follow- up work in 2004, 2005, and 2007. The  research documented here relies on more than sixty  interviews conducted with villagers in various parts  of the southeastern Anatolia region, as well as a 125-  household survey conducted in the Harran plain.  The goal of this work was to understand sociopoliti- cal and institutional dynamics related to GAP. Doc- ument analysis, focus groups, and interviews with  state agents were also conducted but are not ad- dressed here.3 0                                   C om par ati ve                               S tud ies  of                        So uth  As ia,                 Af rica  an d t he           Mi ddl e E ast tion to the altered water resource geography of the region and also how the state is understood and narrated as distinct from society in part through these encounters. State Narrations in Inundated Villages:  Between Atatürk and Birecik Dams To begin, we can consider inundated and relo- cated sites that are aected by the new dam in- frastructure. An interesting aected site is that of Old Halfeti, just north of the Birecik Dam. As my assistant and I walk through the town we see a mosque from the early s that is now largely submerged by the reservoir, although the minaret still rises out of the water and re- mains visible from across the town. The peculiar thing about Old Halfeti is that half the town is still inhabited. An elderly woman summons us to her balcony. We do not even ask questions, as the woman, Hanim, immediately tells us about her profound sadness, that the town has “lost its life” and that they did not understand that their half of the town would be “left behind.” As she explained tearfully, the town has been torn apart (literally); she can no longer visit with her neighbors now that they are in the resettled area ten kilometers up the hill — without public trans- port to connect them. “The state” came and ex- plained to the villagers what would happen, but no one ever imagined that this could happen. Many in Halfeti talk about the inundation and what was lost of the unique microclimate that existed along the banks of the Euphrates — people grew pomegranates, apricots, plums, pistachios, and other fruits and nuts. “It was beautiful,” several proclaimed. “There was ev- erything there.” There was a sad irony in that people had to cut down their own orchards be- fore the inundation, ordered by the state to do so. According to Hanim and others, this was a deeply symbolic and profoundly sad moment for the villagers. It was also among the happenings that people still seem unable to comprehend — it still seems impossible. Up the hill in the newly resettled village, we walk around in a very stark landscape. One retired couple we speak with is not critical of the state. The husband, Cemal, was himself a for- mer state bureaucrat. They are happy with their new cement home, even though they miss their garden and even though they are not pleased about being forced to live with people from other relocated villages. They also feel very un- certain about the future, worried about future charges they will incur and the lack of jobs for their son. Although they are relatively happy with the changes, what is interesting is that they too shared the sense that what happened was unimaginable. Both Cemal and Hanim describe a shared sense of disbelief when Turkish state agents first came to tell them what would hap- pen. As Cemal recalls, “Someone came and told us, but we didn’t believe it, so we didn’t do any- thing. We didn’t organize; we didn’t hold meet- ings. Nothing.” Even though Cemal himself was a state agent, the state in these narratives figures “apart” from villagers’ comprehension, occupying a separate domain of intelligibility. What had occurred remained incomprehensible to the villagers until they were literally forced to leave by (and believe) the rising waters of the Euphrates. State Narrations among Villagers in  Newly Irrigated Areas of the Harran Plain Forty kilometers away, the water from the Atatürk reservoir emerges from a long tunnel, having arrived at its destination — the Harran plain. Villagers of the plain encounter the state in varied ways, from working with state agricul- tural engineers to discuss soil erosion to collect- ing state subsidies for cotton production. Those who own land tend to tell a positive story about how the changes have affected them — they now have more amenities, first electricity, then drinking water, and now, irrigation. As many suggest, irrigation brings life to the village, al- lowing farmers to grow crops year- round. For those who do not own land, and those who had relied heavily on animal herding, the transition to irrigation and cotton cropping has been less positive, even devastating. When discussing 28. Hanim, interview by the author, Halfeti, 30 Sep- tember 2001. 29.  Cemal, interview by the author, Karaotlak, 30  September 2001. 30.  For an explication of differentiated experiences  of these changes, see Leila M. Harris, “Water Rich,  Resource Poor: Intersections of Gender, Poverty, and  Vulnerability in Newly Irrigated Areas of Southeast- ern Turkey,” World Development 36 (2008): 2643 – 62. 3 1 Le ila  M . H ar ri s  St at e  as  S oc io n at u ra l E ff ec t:    G eo gr ap h ie s  of  t h e  St at e  in  S ou th ea st er n  T u rk ey daily experiences of new irrigated agroecolo- gies, the state always figures in narrations as the purveyor of changes under way. As documented in my recently published work on state- society relations in newly irrigated areas of the Harran plain, villagers stress that state interest in the region has shifted with GAP and, with it, villagers’ own sense of the state and of their role as citizen- subjects. For instance, survey respondents remarked that “at least the state turned its face towards us,” or “the state thinks about us now.” Another said, “We did not see any accomplishments of governments in the past, [and] we are a little bit happy to see some now.”  Analyzing such narratives from the pilot irrigation area of the Harran plain, I argue that there appears to be an increasingly positive as- sociation with the state and, with it, receptivity to further state intervention, as well as increas- ing recognition among villagers of themselves as citizen- subjects.  Even as all respondents do not share this positive association, I argue that this receptivity is nevertheless meaningful given the long history of contested state- society rela- tions in the southeastern Anatolia region. To provide a bit of illustration, at several times respondents noted that the state is like a devlet baba (head of family) and as such must care for them, and they, in turn, must be de- voted to the head of household. Or, similarly, villagers in two surveys (the one I and Karahan Kara conducted in  and another by Bahat- tin Akşit and Adnan Akçay conducted a decade earlier) appear to accept a role for the state in water management. Undoubtedly, this is based on a sense of the state as a somewhat neutral arbiter, seemingly standing apart from the aşiret (familial) ties or favoritism that so often charac- terizes village life. As such, the state appears at once as increasingly part of village life with irrigation delivery and associated development (even as part of the family) and simultaneously outside of village networks (apart from familial ties and power dynamics) in ways that might allow the state to be viewed as a more suitable water manager. Harran Plain II:  Changing Mobilities of Seasonal Migrant Labor Another contrasting portrait of the Turkish state is oered by Kurdish migrant laborers who reside in the plain for several months of the fall. Sitting around the fire at the end of a long Octo- ber day at the height of the cotton harvest, these workers convey a sense that the interests of GAP and the Turkish state are opposed to their own. The workers from nearby Bozova to the north- west of the plain are upset; they note that their villages are very close to the Atatürk Dam res- ervoir, but yet they do not receive water. They believe that the reason is that they are Kurdish, and Arabs in the plain received priority for ir- rigation. “Water came to Arabs and we suered, but we, the Kurds, are more noble then they. . . . However, the Arabs got the water first and they are benefiting.”  Perhaps it was because of the presence of a Kurdish speaker who accompanied us that day that the workers complained in a manner that was much more overtly political than on many other occasions. It may have also been the atmo- sphere, relaxing at the end of the day around the fire rather than in the fields. “Why shall I not support Abdullah Öcalan? He made all the Kurds known to the world,” one suggested. He continued by noting that he would vote for the former Kurdish Worker’s Party leader, Öcalan — not for Turkish politicians. Our trans- lator warned him that there were Turks pres- ent. The speaker amended his statement saying, 31. See Harris, “States at the Limit.” 32.  Leila M. Harris and Z. Karahan Kara, survey of  eleven villages in the Harran plain experiencing tran- sition to irrigation, 2001. See Leila M. Harris, “Mod- ernizing Gender: Social Geographies of Waterscape  Evolution in Southeastern Turkey” (PhD diss., Univer- sity of Minnesota, 2004). 33. See Harris, “States at the Limit”; cf. Andrew Finkel  and Nükhet Sirman, eds., Turkish State, Turkish Society  (London: Routledge, 1990). 34.  It is important to note that approximately 80  percent of the Harran plain is Arabic- speaking and 20  percent Kurdish- speaking. Thus shifting state- society  relations in the plain cannot be taken as indicative  for the entire region. For a more detailed analysis of  shifting state- society relations in the plain, includ- ing several important caveats, see Harris, “States at  the Limit.” For discussion of varied responses by dif- ferent sociodemographic groups, see Harris, “Water  Rich, Resource Poor.” 35. Bahattin Akşit and Adnan Akçay, “Sociocultural As- pects of Irrigation Practices in Southeastern Turkey,”  Water Resources Development 13 (1997): 523 – 40.  36.  In general, aşiret refers to familial association,  traced back seven generations. See Maarten Marti- nus van Bruinessen, Agha, Shaikh, and State: On the Social and Political Organization of Kurdistan (Lon- don: Zed Books, 1992). 37. Kurdish migrant worker, interview by the author,  October 2001; see also Harris, “Irrigation, Gender,  and Social Geographies.”3 2                                   C om par ati ve                               S tud ies  of                        So uth  As ia,                 Af rica  an d t he           Mi ddl e E ast “Sure, not to worry, we are all brothers with Turks; we like our state.” Here the state is cast as “Turkish” in opposition to an association with “Kurdish,” with which the workers force- fully identify. Rather than a state that is ethni- cally or linguistically neutral, or multiple, the state articulated here is clearly read through politics and practices related to Kurdish sepa- ratism, state response, and dierentiated senses of Turkishness, Arabness, and Kurdishness. It is also of interest that for these workers the dier- entiated geography of access to irrigation water with GAP development has consolidated the no- tion of state as “dierentiated,” as discrimina- tory (against Kurds), and also as distinct from the realities and needs of these “citizens.” As such, the imaginary of the state as articulated in relation to ongoing developmental and environ- mental changes is cast as a continuation of ear- lier injustices — the physical and infrastructural geography of where water is available, where cotton is grown, and where laborers must travel, all serve to produce particular understandings of the state. The physical infrastructure is also a constant material reminder of the relocation of many Kurdish villages for the dams, of the con- tinuing inability of many Kurds to access irriga- tion, and of the long- term exclusion of Kurds from state modernization eorts. Many Kurds we interviewed also directly contest the “technical” rationalities invoked by the state to justify why priority for water delivery was given to Harran. As they note, the nearby Suruç plain is very similar topographically to Harran, yet it is occupied mostly by Kurdish res- idents. As such, some understand the biophysi- cal rationalities that justify priority delivery to the Harran plain as secondary to the geogra- phy of ethnic dierence. The statement of the workers, “Not to worry . . . we like our state,” is surely given in part to stem unease among us, recognition that even raising the Kurdish issue or citing Öcalan’s name may lead to discomfort or conflict. Clearing the air is also indicative of long- standing fears of the state to the extent that an offhand remark about Öcalan could lead to imprisonment or worse. For these resi- dents, new irrigated waterscapes have deepened dissatisfaction with the state, and they call the Turkish state and territory into question by vow- ing support for separatists. Contrasting Sites: Kurdish Villages Northwest  and Northeast of the Harran Plain Similar portrayals of the state circulated in sev- eral of the Kurdish- speaking towns we visited north of the Harran plain. These villages had not yet received irrigation, although it is prom- ised for the near future. Elijah, a Kurdish man in his late thirties, complains bitterly about un- employment in his village and notes that half the village has been forced to move to urban areas to earn a living. He and his neighbors be- lieve that the problems will be solved with irri- gation, but they remain skeptical that the state will follow through on its promise. When we first arrive in the village, Elijah is one of a half- dozen men standing in the cen- ter of the village, symbolically resting idle next to a fountain with no running water. My assis- tant and I introduce ourselves, and we suggest that we would like to learn about the planned irrigation. Elijah responds by saying that they work hard, but because they do not know emi- nent people with the GAP administration, they have not yet received water. “They told us we would get water first when the next stage starts, but right now, they moved the priority to some- one else’s village, to the parliamentarian’s vil- lage [he names a village bearing the name of a specific parliamentarian]. I have been there, it is like heaven.”  Water is portrayed throughout the conversation as panacea: “if only” they had irrigation water, people would not be forced to move to cities, villagers would enjoy livelihood security, and they would not continue to be marginalized from state practices. Again, we can understand the “state as eect” of complex geographies, of nature- society, and of emergent infrastructures. Who is perceived as within or without state influence and interest is read in relation to one’s position with respect to new irrigation infrastructure and water delivery. Whether the water comes or not has important eects for population mobilities and agroecolo- gies. In this case, the coming of water would 38. Cf. Harris, “Modernizing the Nation”; and Harris, “Irrigation, Gender, and Social Geographies.” 39. Elijah, interview by the author, Harran plain, Oc- tober 2001.3 3 Le ila  M . H ar ri s  St at e  as  S oc io n at u ra l E ff ec t:    G eo gr ap h ie s  of  t h e  St at e  in  S ou th ea st er n  T u rk ey allow people to stay in their natal village. The lack of water is described as leading to poverty and forcing people to leave, disconnecting them from their families and landscapes. One would imagine that, given the in- crease of land prices in the nearby Harran plain after the delivery of irrigation, villagers here would aim to hold onto land in anticipation of higher land prices. However, this is not the case. Despite the promise of irrigation, many have sold their fields. This can be taken either as evidence of the gravity of their situation or as skepticism regarding the state’s promise. Dis- cussing changes past or anticipated, much of the conversation with Elijah and his neighbors inevitably revolves around the state — state cor- ruption, deflected state responsibility for those who died during the construction of irrigation tunnels, or skepticism. The state emerges as un- trustworthy, and sporadic — its legitimacy and its sense of being seemingly hanging tenuously on the promise of irrigation. I asked Elijah what he would do if he him- self were the president of GAP. Despite his re- peated complaints of favoritism, he said, “Of course I would take care of my family first, then my neighbors, then everyone else.” I replied, “But isn’t that the same thing that you were just complaining to us about, that they take care of their own villages first?” He smiled, “That is how it is done.”  Elijah thus conveys a view of the state as an entity that is at once embedded in and standing apart from sociocultural networks and practices. This statement can be under- stood as referring to the character of the devlet (state), as essentially corrupt and socioculturally embedded, operating along patronage lines. Eli- jah fashions a representation of the state as prey to desires of certain individuals rather than as a body that operates on behalf of all citizens. Even as he recognizes the state as embedded in village, patronage, and aşiret associations, he also understands the state as socially and spa- tially “elsewhere,” apart from the needs of his community (locating it instead in the space of the parliamentarian’s village or in faraway An- kara). With such an account, the state is again cast as geographically dierentiated and is read through emergent waterscapes — unequal access to water is fundamental to this state ontology. Here irrigation networks and water flows follow physical geographic features, but also historical practices, sociocultural differences, and kin- ship and patronage networks. The flow of water is simultaneously a biophysical, historical, and sociocultural artifact and the visible inscription of a corrupt and “external” state. Contrasting Sites II:  Kurdish Villages outside of Diyarbakir Yaytaş is a village in the area around Diyarba- kir, several hours to the northeast. I detail in another article the scene that we witnessed as villagers responded to state irrigation engineers about impending irrigation. Elements of the encounter are worth revisiting here for what they reveal about the state, stateness, and vil- lager subjectivities. Responding to a presenta- tion about the imminent delivery of irrigation, villagers overtly contested the knowledge of the state engineers, calling them to task for failing to ground- truth the location of irrigation cana- lets. Throughout the meeting, state agents self-  consciously deferred any sense that they were experts — working diligently to convey that they were there to learn from the villagers. In Yaytaş no one doubted whether irrigation would come. The infrastructure was already in place. Rather, there was questioning as to how the irrigation would be delivered and ultimately if it would serve the village’s needs. A key challenge was of- fered by a former muhtar (village head): The engineer did the canalets on the map. He did not come here to see. In some places [where they located the canalets], you cannot find even a gram of soil, even when you explode an atom bomb. And in some places, there is soil for ag- riculture, but there is no canalet around. On paper, Hacı Ömer has  decares of land, but in reality, you only find soil in  decars of that land. The rest is rocks and stones. 40.  Ibid. 41.  See Leila M. Harris, “Contested Sustainabilities:  Assessing Narratives of Environmental Change in  Southeastern Turkey,” Local Environment 14 (2009):  699 – 720. 42.  Ibid., 700.3 4                                   C om par ati ve                               S tud ies  of                        So uth  As ia,                 Af rica  an d t he           Mi ddl e E ast Throughout the discussion, the state was po- sitioned as purveyor of changes and also as “unknowing” with respect to the landscape, re- alities, and needs of the villagers. What we wit- nessed was an important negotiation of shifting state- society relations — villagers called the state to task for failures (e.g., with respect to knowl- edge, placement of the canalets, and the inade- quacy of the infrastructure for landscape condi- tions), as state agents very reflexively attempted to ward off a critique that the project was a top- down imposition or that state knowledges were more “expert” than those of the farmers (with the lead engineer repeating, “I am not a teacher; I am here to learn from you”). In many ways, this enactment was one of citation and deferral of techne (abstract knowledges) dis- cussed by Scott and the recognition of the value of local knowledges adapted to local ecologies and metis (conditions). As with the earlier ex- amples, here again the state is understood, con- tested, and necessarily refashioned in relation to new GAP infrastructure and irrigation possibili- ties. The state is called to question on the same ground — its lack of knowledge with respect to specificities of the terrain and the landscape conditions that villagers live with daily. As such, the state is contested on the very possibility that the state could ever “know” the local ecologies and biophysical conditions that are meaningful for people’s lives. While state- society relations are being refashioned, it is also apparent that senses of place, landscape, topography, and vil- lage geography are central to these renegotia- tions, including the state’s inability to know the intimate geographies where one lives from its far- o oces in Ankara or from its far- o satel- lites, maps, and other state optics. Analysis:  State as Differentiated and Socionatural Effect What do we learn from divergent experiences and interpretations of state practices and the state across various sites of rural southeastern Turkey following GAP implementation? There are many elements of state theory that could be highlighted through the examples given, includ- ing the importance of everyday state making or changing citizen subjectivities. For purposes of this analysis, I highlight several issues that are salient from a socionatural and political ecology perspective. Specifically, I consider spatiotem- poralities, inequality and dierential access to resources, the importance of scale, and also concern with biophysical “materialities” to de- tail what these foci might lend to understanding the Turkish state or to state theory generally. I then suggest that these foci also underscore how it is that the state emerges as an eect of these diverse experiences and “ecologies.” Spatiotemporalities The narratives from Turkey’s southeast remind us that “statemaking occur[s] in places even as it produce[s] them” and that the state is embed- ded in everyday practices and spatialities of vil- lage life. It is also clear that the state is variably understood and constituted socioculturally, geographically, temporally, and in relation to emergent agroecological landscapes and live- lihood possibilities in ways that are consistent with political- ecological and social natures (or hydrosocial) approaches. With respect to other geographic consid- erations, it is clear that the state is located and experienced at many sites and across various scales — what Akhil Gupta refers to as the “trans- locality of state institutions.”  Further, the nar- 43.  Ibid. 44. See Scott, Seeing like a State. 45. Cf. Trevor Birkenholtz, “Contesting Expertise: The  Politics of Environmental Knowledge in Northern In- dian Groundwater Practices,” Geoforum 39 (2008):  466 – 82. 46. See Scott, Seeing like a State. 47.  Sivaramakrishnan, Modern Forests, 35. See also  Gupta, “Blurred Boundaries”; and Painter, “Prosaic  Geographies of Stateness.” 48.  See Marston, “Space, Culture, State.” For more  social natural and ecological inflected approaches,  see Castree and Braun, Remaking Reality; Fernando  Coronil, The Magical State: Nature, Money, and Mo- dernity in Venezuela (Chicago: University of Chicago  Press, 1997); and Erik Swyngedouw, “Modernity and  Hybridity: Nature, Regeneracioismo, and the Produc- tion of the Spanish Waterscape,” Annals of the Asso- ciation of American Geographers 89 (1999): 443 – 65.  49. Gupta, “Blurred Boundaries,” 392.3 5 Le ila  M . H ar ri s  St at e  as  S oc io n at u ra l E ff ec t:    G eo gr ap h ie s  of  t h e  St at e  in  S ou th ea st er n  T u rk ey ratives are consistent with findings oered by Anna J. Secor with respect to the ways that the state is understood, and emerges, in relation to varied spatiotemporalities. In her example, she details the spatial- temporal techniques through which state power is enacted and suggests that it is through the operation of the space- time of the state that individuals submit to state power and become subjects of rights (citizens). Specifi- cally, Secor highlights the “circulation and ar- rest” of paperwork, people, money, and other elements of daily life in Istanbul as central to the everyday epistemologies of the state. In a similar way, narratives from the southeast sug- gest that the state is experienced and enacted spatiotemporally — in relation to new season- alities associated with irrigation and cotton cropping, the changing circulation of migrant laborers (including new patterns of seasonal migration or of rural- to- urban migration), and other elements of the large- scale diversion of water that fundamentally alter the space- times of agroecologies or electricity production. By emphasizing narratives of the state in the relatively marginal sites of the rural, multi- ethnic, and impoverished southeast, I have also sought to extend the “sites” and “spaces” of the state beyond its most likely locations. In the case of Turkey, reading the state in relation to vil- lages of the southeast severs a facile association with the capital in Ankara or with “state institu- tions,” such as schools or police stations, where state symbols and authority are readily visible. Temporally, too, the examples illustrate that the contemporary Turkish state is necessarily read against historical practices, as well as with re- spect to expectations for the future. The nar- ratives also trace ways that interpretations of the state undergo revision, as the state is under- stood in novel ways in relation to dam building or irrigation delivery. The Turkish state that is narrated by villagers today is necessarily dier- ent from what it might have been even a decade ago before these large- scale changes. In sum, the state is variable both according to dieren- tial locations and experiences and according to changing temporalities. Meanings associated with the state are sedimented in relation to past histories and geographies and also recast in relation to recent developmental and environ- mental changes. Inequality and Uneven Access to Resources Another theme that is emphasized with a politi- cal ecology or socionatural approach is unequal and dierential access to resources. Dieren- tiated understandings of states are very much about dierentiated water access, varied rela- tionships to irrigation infrastructure, even as they are also importantly mediated by sociospa- tial dierence. While many residents of the Harran plain appear to increasingly view the Turkish state favorably, residents of villages who have not yet received state irrigation portray themselves forcefully as outside of the Turkish state and nation. Elijah and his friends express this sen- timent when they convey that the surrounding infrastructure and the lack of irrigation in their village are symbolic and persistent reminders of their exteriority to the Turkish state and vatandaş (nation). For Elijah, this isolation rein- forces that the state is, at its core, an institution that mirrors social and familial networks — fa- voring some and marginalizing others. In addition to the common sentiment among Kurds that the state is not working on their behalf (e.g., given priority irrigation access for Harran over Suruç), there is also a similar discourse circulating internationally that is re- lated to the marginalization of Kurdish interests regarding the planned inundation of Kurdish cultural sites along the Tigris River. Thus even as I have found some evidence to suggest recep- tivity for GAP, and a sense of benefits from the project among some Kurds, these changes are clearly read against multiscalar landscapes of inequality and dierence. To the degree that 50.  See Secor, “Between Longing and Despair.” Dis- cussions of spatiotemporalities have been increas- ingly visible in state theory, particularly through  the work of geographers. See, e.g., Painter, “Prosaic  Geographies of Stateness”; Merje Kuus and John  Agnew, “Theorizing the State Geographically: Sover- eignty, Subjectivity, Territoriality,” in Cox et al., Sage Handbook of Political Geography, 95 – 106; Corbridge,  “State and Society”; and Neil Brenner, New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of State- hood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). 51. See Secor, “Between Longing and Despair.” 52. Cf. Benjamin C. Fortna, Imperial Classroom: Islam, the State, and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). 53.  See Castree and Braun, Remaking Reality; and  Robbins, “State in Political Ecology.” 54. See Harris, “States at the Limit.”  55. See ibid.; and Harris, “Irrigation, Gender, and So- cial Geographies.” 3 6                                   C om par ati ve                               S tud ies  of                        So uth  As ia,                 Af rica  an d t he           Mi ddl e E ast political- ecological approaches, in particular, highlight unequal access to resources, and rela- tionships to other sociospatial dierences (e.g., gender or ethnicity), this lends force to the sug- gestion that these approaches hold considerable potential to bring new insights to state theory. Scale While geographers have raised many issues re- lated to spatiotemporalities of state building and geographically dierentiated state eects, there has been less attention to scalar dynamics and scale politics as key to state formation, state building, and shifting state- society relations. In concert with recent discussions related to the need for enriched scalar discussions in political ecology, or that focus on scalar processes as key to enriching political- ecological approaches to states, I suggest that scale is a particularly use- ful analytic to unravel some of the ways that the Turkish state is understood, narrated, and refashioned. In brief, it is in part because of the massive scale of the transformation under way with GAP, including an extensive network of dams and mas- sive changes to the seasonalities of agriculture and mobilities of people and water, that the state is cast in the contemporary moment. Indeed, as I elaborate below, scale appears to be particularly crucial to what enables the state to be under- stood as a sphere distinct from society. Here it is useful to again signal the connections between large- scale dam building and nationalism (as it is the large- scale engineering feats associated with dams that suggest state power in important ways), as well as the lessons from Scott. To recall, Scott’s work is largely an attempt to theorize why it is that states are so often im- plicated in large- scale (and high modernist) environmental- developmental changes and, in- deed, how these types of “grand schemes” could even be considered as definitional to states. Fol- lowing Scott’s cues, we might endeavor to take seriously the degree of capacity required to un- dertake these changes in terms of how we theo- rize states. Indeed, theorists have long grap- pled with the connections among state building, large- scale infrastructure, and water resources. For instance, Homayun Sidky argues that in the case of Hunza, Pakistan, irrigation was central to state consolidation, primarily because of the increased wealth associated with intensified ag- ricultural production. This recalls the earlier “hydraulic hypothesis” by Karl Wittfogel, who argues that irrigation has historically been cen- tral to the evolving political organization and to state building. While these approaches can be critiqued for what appear to be overly determin- istic associations, there may be issues related to scale, and the massive mobilization of resources required for certain types of infrastructure, and to the consolidation and maintenance of cer- tain institutional forms. While the proliferation of work on the microphysics of power or banal nationalisms including f lag waving or other symbolic practices is certainly important to, and even constitutive of, states, it seems that we also need to attend to the importance of large- scale 56. For scale and political ecology, see Haripriya Ran- gan and Christian A. Kull, “What Makes Ecology ‘Polit- ical’? Rethinking ‘Scale’ in Political Ecology,” Progress in Human Geography 33 (2009): 28 – 45; and Roder- ick P. Neumann, “Political Ecology: Theorizing Scale,”  Progress in Human Geography 33 (2009): 398 – 406.  For political ecology and state theory, see Robbins,  “State in Political Ecology.” 57.  See, e.g., Klingensmith, One Valley and a Thou- sand; and Scott, Seeing like a State.  58.  For a discussion of the mobilizations of science  and technology as crucial for the legitimization of the  postcolonial state in India, see Gyan Prakash, Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India  (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999). 59. Homayun Sidky, “Irrigation and the Rise of the  State in Hunza: A Case for the Hydraulic Hypothesis,”  Modern Asian Studies 31 (1997): 995 – 1017. 60.  See Karl Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism: A Com- parative Study of Total Power (New Haven, CT: Yale  University Press, 1957). According to Wittfogel, water  is “institutionally decisive” in that it requires the co- ordination of mass labor. Some have argued that ir- rigation was central to the emergence of originary  states in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Mesoamerica, and  the Central Andes. Sidky concludes that in the case  of Hunza, “large- scale irrigation did indeed contrib- ute to increasing political complexity and state for- mation” (“Irrigation,” 1014). For another example of  the centrality of hydrology and water management  to state building, see Samer Alatout, “Imagining  Hydrological Boundaries, Constructing the Nation- State: A Fluid History of Israel, 1936 – 1959” (PhD diss.,  Cornell University, 2000). 3 7 Le ila  M . H ar ri s  St at e  as  S oc io n at u ra l E ff ec t:    G eo gr ap h ie s  of  t h e  St at e  in  S ou th ea st er n  T u rk ey changes to landscapes, economies, or possibili- ties for living and ways that these too are often strongly connected to states and stateness. As such, in concert with James Ferguson and Akhil Gupta’s suggestion that we need to attend to state spatial and scalar hierarchies, I suggest that we need to consider large- scale landscape and waterscape productions not as incidental but as potentially central to the func- tion or definition of states. In the case of GAP, it is clear that the state cannot be understood apart from the massive alterations of the twin rivers under way. Materiality and Biophysical Properties  of Nature and Resources Discussions in political ecology and related so- cionatural approaches are also important for state theory given the linked focus on specific properties of natures and the importance of these for linked social, institutional, and po- litical processes. As Karen Bakker notes, the characteristics of water as a resource (heavy and expensive to transport) often require large- scale capital investments, highly centralized infra- structure, and monopoly power, potentially ex- plaining why water management often relies on particular administrative forms, including com- mon roles for states (connecting to ideas of Sidky and Wittfogel related to linkages between water infrastructure and administrative form). In the GAP case, issues related to the bio- physical characteristics of water or the physical landscape and topography appear as relatively minor in the narratives. Nonetheless, they are potentially salient to the dierentiated under- standings of states that arise, as well as to the conditions of possibility through which the Turkish state is able to intervene in certain land- scapes, ecologies, and livelihood possibilities. Just as those in areas that had not yet received irrigation infrastructure expressed that they, and their villages, were outside of the Turkish state (and nation), we can imagine that those spaces where irrigation is not possible for topo- graphic reasons might similarly view themselves as outside of state concern or the reach of state services. Recall also the quotation about Hacı Ömer’s land, where an explosion would reveal “not a gram of soil.” In such examples, particu- lar populations or landscapes appear to be writ- ten out of state modernization eorts. Another example noted is that of the Suruç plain, which is very similar topographically to the Harran plain, but as some Kurds point out, this is not where the Turkish state chose to prioritize ir- rigation delivery. In this example, the topogra- phy and biophysical characteristics of Suruç are cited as evidence that state rationalities are not scientific but rather cultural and political. Thus the variable topographies and natures in the southeast, and the actual properties of water, are connected to, and even central to, vision- ings and articulations of the state, including how these change in relation to altered infra- structure and waterscapes. State as Effect All of these elements together delineate a final aspect of importance for the reading of evolv- ing states offered, that related to Mitchell’s state as eect. To this end, I am interested in not only the ways that the state is dierentiated sociospatially but also the ways that the state is narrated in these examples as oppositional to, or sociospatially apart from, social relations, landscapes, and village life. In other words, how is the boundary between state and society invoked and sedimented through these diverse and shifting narrations? For instance, certain residents of the Har- ran plain discuss a Turkish state that has dem- 61.  Cf. Michael Billig, Banal Nationalism (London:  Sage, 1995). The focus on microphysics of power is  due, in part, to the widespread influence of Foucaul- dian governmentality, yet the theoretical opening  provided by Michel Foucault is not limited to focus  on distributed and capillary power (see Michel Fou- cault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison,  trans. Alan Sheridan [New York, Vintage, 1979]). Tania  Murray Li, for example, connects governmentality to  grand schemes of socioenvironmental engineering  (see Li, “Beyond the State”). 62.  See James Ferguson and Akhil Gupta, “Spatial- izing States: Toward an Ethnography of Neoliberal  Governmentality,” American Ethnologist 29 (2002):  981 – 1002. 63. See also the discussion of state consolidation and  hydro- scalar politics in Harris and Alatout, “Negotiat- ing Hydro- scales, Forging States.” 64.  See Karen Bakker and Gavin Bridge, “Material  Worlds? Resource Geographies and the ‘Matter of Na- ture,’ ” Progress in Human Geography 30 (2006): 5 – 27. 65.  See Karen Bakker, “A Political Ecology of Water  Privatization,” Studies in Political Economy 70 (2003):  35 – 58; Sidky, “Irrigation”; and Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism.3 8                                   C om par ati ve                               S tud ies  of                        So uth  As ia,                 Af rica  an d t he           Mi ddl e E ast onstrated increasing interest in the region, with increased capacity to meet villagers’ needs, and as such, perhaps is viewed with increasing le- gitimacy. Another example relates to the ways that villagers situate the state as the most suit- able manager for irrigation waters because of the sense that the state is more neutral or less subject to village politics. Even as versions of the state diverge across these discussions, common to many is the way in which the state is authored as a distinct entity that has a function and char- acter apart from village life. Elijah’s skepticism that the state will ever provide irrigation situ- ates his village outside the realm of the Turkish state. In Yaytaş, the state’s abstracted techniques and ways of knowing (satellites, mapmaking in faraway Ankara, and unfamiliarity with the landscapes and daily rhythms of village) situate it as apart from village life. In the town of Hal- feti, the state is fashioned as exterior to village life, and interests to the degree that the state agents who came with news of inundation were not to be believed. These and similar narrations reveal the ambivalent tension that the Turkish state is at once understood as both inside and outside of village spaces. By emphasizing dierentiated and evolv- ing narrations in relation to the changing wa- terscape, a political- ecological approach to the Turkish state helps highlight these processes and the specific pathways through which the Turkish state emerges as an eect of these di- verse narrations. As Mitchell writes, “It [the state] should be examined not as an actual structure, but as the powerful, metaphysical effect of practices that make such structures appear to exist. In fact, the nation state is ar- guably the paramount structural eect of the modern social world. . . . By approaching the state as an effect, one can both acknowledge the power of the political arrangements that we call the state and at the same time account for their elusiveness.”  In line with this approach, I have endeavored to reveal the everyday prac- tices and narratives through which the state is understood, recast, and lived. Regardless of whether it is portrayed as legitimate or corrupt, the Turkish state emerges as an object of analy- sis and as an eect of these citations. A political-  ecological and socionatural approach informs this “boundary work” by attending to the im- portance of spatiotemporality, uneven access to resources, scale, and biophysical properties as revealing for the ways that the state- society dis- tinction is invoked and sedimented. Conclusions: Revisiting State Theory Forging India into a productive, interlocking network of irrigation works, railways, telegraphs, mines, and manufacturing, the colonial state introduced and oversaw the establishment of modern technics. In an important sense, however, technology was not only the instrument but also the substance of state power. — Gyan Prakash, Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India Bob Jessop explains the tendency of state theo- rists to focus on “state eects,” or eects of state practices, given the impossibility of treating the state as a “set of institutions that can exercise power.”  The analysis here seeks to understand how state practices dierentially aect spaces and residents of Turkey’s southeast. Yet it also contributes to the very dierent project of un- derstanding the state as effect — the diverse processes whereby the state is given form, con- solidated, and made to appear as discrete from society. As such, the work here builds on the insights from Prakash, whereby infrastructure, technology, and associated socioenvironmen- tal changes are best understood as both the instruments and the substance of state power. Examination of dierentiated experiences, nar- rations, and spatialities of large- scale infrastruc- tural works associated with ongoing damming and diversion of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers suggests that the Turkish state emerges, in part, as an effect of these ongoing developmental-  environmental changes. I argue that a political-  ecological and socionatural perspective exposes these dynamics in particularly pronounced and interesting ways. The theoretical and empirical discus- sion suggests four linked conclusions. First, 66. See Harris, “States at the Limit.” 67. Mitchell, “Limits of the State,” 94 – 95. 68. Bob Jessop, State Theory: Putting the Capitalist States in Their Place (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1990), 7.3 9 Le ila  M . H ar ri s  St at e  as  S oc io n at u ra l E ff ec t:    G eo gr ap h ie s  of  t h e  St at e  in  S ou th ea st er n  T u rk ey the Turkish state is importantly dierentiated socially, spatially, culturally, and also in rela- tion to landscape conditions, agroecological possibilities, and waterscape realities. Second, by transforming waterscapes, water use and ac- cess, and other social, economic, and ecological realities, GAP is fundamentally altering villag- ers’ understandings, narratives, and imaginar- ies of the Turkish state (even as these are never entirely distinct from past histories and rela- tions). Third, concurring with Robbins and with Whitehead et al., I consider that there is some exciting intellectual space oered by political ecology and socionatural approaches for state theory. By engaging concepts associated with political ecology (including scale and spatiality, but also natures, biophysical materialities, and environment- development linkages), I suggest that studies of states and nature can do more than consider the role of the state as fostering or responding to environmental or develop- mental changes. Instead, we might engage ques- tions of socionatures to think through specific pathways through which state- society relations evolve and even ways that state- society distinc- tions are articulated. Adding to these discus- sions, I have argued that concepts and analytics associated with political ecology and socionatu- ral approaches might be particularly illustrative to empirically draw out Mitchell’s state as eect approach. Finally, the fourth point is that among the important concepts and approaches offered, scalar analytics may prove to be especially useful to interrogate these processes and relations. Highlighting scalar dynamics, including those associated landscape and waterscape dynamics, perhaps oers a needed corrective to the heavy focus in recent work on the banal, everyday, and capillary experiences of states or power in ways that downplay processes of large- scale change or grand schemes of social engineering, central- ization, or territorialization. I argue that this is perhaps one of the meaningful oerings from Scott’s Seeing like a State that we need to take se- riously in state theory. For the state to take on meaning and importance in the lives of rural residents, it not only has to be enacted through festivals or parades but must also command the attention of citizens through large- scale ef- forts as part of what characterizes the state as something that stands apart from society (this idea also has resonance with Jessop’s very defi- nition of states, where he characterizes states by their unique resource capacity). The building of dams, the launching of space programs, or the movement of entire rivers or villages are all among these highly visible shows of power and force. Thus while attention to microphysics of power has served as an important corrective to earlier repressive theories of states, there is also something lost by only attending to micro- practices of power in ways that downplay the im- portance of large- scale, centralized, and visible transformations, of which GAP is a prime exam- ple. As Mitchell writes, “Large dams oered a way to build not just irrigation and power sys- tems, but nation- states themselves.” Neumann also signals the need to attend to socioecologi- cal processes that give rise to particular scalar forms of organization (e.g., states, local govern- ments, or interstate arrangements). Here I argue in a parallel sense that certain large- scale changes may serve to consolidate particular state territories, spaces, and institutions and that highlighting these elements might be cru- cial for theorizing states and stateness. For the GAP case, these analytics help expose novel and evolving dynamics in a border region where the Turkish state has historically faced important challenge. 69.  See Robbins, “State in Political Ecology”; and  Whitehead et al., Nature of the State. 70. Neumann, “Political Ecology”; Robbins, “State in  Political Ecology”; Harris and Alatout, “Negotiating  Hydro- scales, Forging States”; Scott, Seeing like a State. 71.  See Jessop, State Theory, 279. 72.  Cf. Max Weber, Economy and Society: An Out- line of Interpretive Sociology, ed. Guenther Roth and  Claus Wittich (Berkeley: University of California  Press, 1978). 73. Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-  politics, Modernity (Berkeley: University of California  Press, 2002), 44. 74. See Neumann, “Political Ecology.” 75.  Implicit to this argument is the idea that such a  project could not occur at the hands of nonstate en- tities. I maintain that changes on the scale of GAP, in- cluding the relocation of hundreds of villages, could  not occur apart from the role and consent of “states,”  even as other actors may be engaged in such pro- cesses. See also Brenner, New State Spaces; and Har- ris and Alatout, “Negotiating Hydro- scales, Forging  States.”


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