Basak Taraktas

Basak Taraktas
Bogazici University · Department of Political Science and International Relations

Doctor of Philosophy

About

16
Publications
1,310
Reads
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31
Citations
Citations since 2016
14 Research Items
23 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202202468
Introduction
My research interests include regimes, social movements, and financial and sovereign debt crises. I specialize in network analysis, agent-based modeling, and multi-method research. I am particularly interested in complexity theory and adaptations of dynamical systems theory in social sciences.
Additional affiliations
March 2017 - present
Northwestern University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2015 - January 2016
The Varieties of Democracy Project
Position
  • Research Assistant
March 2007 - August 2007
Koc University
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
September 2009 - July 2016
University of Pennsylvania
Field of study
  • Political science
September 2007 - June 2009
Sabanci University
Field of study
  • Political Science
September 2005 - July 2006
The College of Europe
Field of study
  • European Political and Administrative Studies

Publications

Publications (16)
Article
Full-text available
Why were Christian democratic unions (CDUs) among workers and farmers more proactive in some Western European states than in others? Marxist theories explain union activity by industrialization. However, CDUs were not the most active in the late 19th century in rapidly industrializing states, e.g., Italy and Germany. Using social identity theory an...
Article
Full-text available
How do right-wing populist leaders address a public health crisis? This article addresses the evolution of right-wing populist leaders' communication tone and style during the COVID-19 pandemic. By analysing the Twitter accounts of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Narendra Modi, we explore how right-wing populist leaders control the portrayal of a h...
Preprint
Full-text available
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed a disproportionate infection rate among marginalized and low-income groups. Despite empirical evidence suggesting that structural inequalities in society contribute to health disparities, there has been little attempt to offer a computational and theoretical explanation to establish its plausibility and qu...
Book
Full-text available
Computational social science is regarded as a research method that provides an unprecedented breadth and depth of data to classify and analyze how human interaction occurs and provide a different dimension to studies of collective human behavior. Computational social science refers to computational methods and approaches to study the social science...
Article
This paper examines collective action (CA) capacity and shape of coalitions. By applying temporal exponential random graph models on original datasets of Ottoman and French contenders, it finds that coalitions form both for strategic and ideological reasons; but strategically unified coalitions are more likely to take CA. Also, coalition shape depe...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter discusses the challenges and opportunities of incorporating computational social science (CSS) into political science. Using an original dataset of quantitative methods courses offered at the top-40 schools, this study shows that CSS courses are currently underrepresented, but their number is likely to augment because of the competitio...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate phase transitions associated with three control methods for epidemics on small world networks. Motivated by the behavior of SARS-CoV-2, we construct a theoretical SIR model of a virus that exhibits presymptomatic, asymptomatic, and symptomatic stages in two possible pathways. Using agent-based simulations on small world networks, we...
Preprint
We investigate the efficacy of three social distancing controls on the spread of SARS-CoV-2 using an agent based SIR model on a small world network structure: 1) Global social distancing with a fixed probability of adherence. 2) Individually initiated social isolation when a threshold number of contacts are infected. 3) Use of personal protective e...
Conference Paper
This paper uses Twitter data to map out the social, political, economic, and informational dimensions of the movements MeToo and Black lives matter. Evidence suggests a tradeoff between diversification (penetration of the movement into different social spheres) and alliance making (building alliances with other movements).
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter offers a mechanism-based explanation of how single-cause oriented protest events are transformed into a mass movement where previously fragmented causes of contention come to be expressed in conjoint action. Drawing on the case of 2013 Gezi protests in Turkey, we map the protest waves and identify two mechanisms that mediate the influe...
Article
In nearly all authoritarian regimes, democratization finds significant societal support and a number of organized opposition groups struggle for regime change. In some cases—such as in Iran in 1979— opposition groups are able to cooperate with one another and bring down authoritarianism. In others—such as the Assad regime in Syria—groups are not ab...
Article
Full-text available
The pre-accession strategy, by challenging national sovereignty, erodes motivations for EU membership in the candidate countries, hence arising nationalistic reactions. Euroscepticism manifests itself in various forms depending on the way the country undergoes the transition, the domestic meaning of the accession and the country-specific patterns o...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
This project uses a SIR (susceptible, infection, resistant) model––an agent based model–– to study the limits of protest diffusion in an environment with biases. We study how two opposite forces interact and affect diffusion dynamics: self identification with the victim & cause of the protest, and biases towards some identities. Experiments currently ongoing.
Project
How can actors cooperate without solving all disagreements? This paper examines coalition formation with respect to the type of conflicts of interests. Applying longitudinal network analysis on two original datasets of French and Ottoman opposition groups, I test the theory that coalitions are more likely to form among the strategically like-minded than the ideologically like-minded.
Project
This study considers why some societies oscillate between democratic and authoritarian regimes despite constitutional systems in place. Regime scholars focus on authoritarian revival and durability. Flipping the question, this study asks whether transitions between democracy and authoritarianism themselves constitute a pattern. I conduct a diachronic comparative analysis of the Ottoman Empire (1860–1918) ––a theocratic empire ruling multinational society–– and Republican Turkey (1923–2017) ––a secular republic with ethnoreligious minorities. Building on game theory, I hypothesize that oscillation is a consequence of zero-sum interactions between governments and opposition groups. I argue that previously repressed libertarian opposition groups come to power to reform the regime, feel threatened when they face dissent, change the constitution, and repress dissenters to ensure survival; and novel libertarian demands arise. Authoritarianism breaks down and the regime undergoes liberalization when one of the libertarian groups assumes power. However, authoritarianism may come back, if the new government, too, perceives dissent as a threat and chooses repression to ensure survival. In other words, repression towards the opposition likens the tit-for-tat strategy in an iterated prisoners’ dilemma game, where the groups that were repressed while in opposition themselves repress the opposition to their regimes when in power because they fear for survival. Evidence from Ottoman and Turkish periods shows that governments lack the incentive to cooperate, because experience with repression and distrust perpetuate the fear of survival. Also, the system may not return to checks and balances after authoritarian breakdown, if the fear of survival continues to shape government-opposition interactions. This article contributes to the institutional change and regime literatures by theorizing oscillation as a form of equilibrium and shifting the focus of study to patterns in transitions from static regime outcomes.