Territorial dynamics in organizing resistance: The assistants’ solidarity movement in two universities

Güneştepe K., Tunçalp D.

Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 2023 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/23996544231178153
  • Journal Name: Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, EconLit, Geobase
  • Keywords: collective action, higher education, organizational resistance, territoriality
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


How do social movements develop and sustain their territoriality within large-scale organisations? This study explores the emergence of resistive movements in organisations counteracting a new administrative regime with a relational approach to territoriality in the physical and virtual environments. Drawing, maintaining, and changing boundaries in physical and virtual spaces are crucial in organisational resistance. However, the extant literature mostly overlooks these topics. This paper shows how collective actors form a resistive movement in organisations through territoriality with a qualitative study conducted in two Turkish Universities. The study findings show territoriality provides more than a space of isolation and this space has no fixed resistive boundaries. Territorialisation within and out of organisational spaces, covering physical and virtual environments, supports the development of a resistive identity. Our comparative analysis of two movements in universities shows that territoriality in the physical world is essential. However, territorialisation in the virtual environment helps resistive identities in organisations to last even their physical activities fade. Moreover, territorialisation in physical and virtual spaces communicating the movement’s message to mobilise others varies according to the different stages of the movement’s lifespan. In addition, this study indicates how the activities of social movements of organisational actors in physical and virtual environments interrelate.