Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey
Duke University Press, 2006 M08 30 - 240 pages
As the twentieth century drew to a close, the unity and authority of the secularist Turkish state were challenged by the rise of political Islam and Kurdish separatism on the one hand and by the increasing demands of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank on the other. While the Turkish government had long limited Islam—the religion of the overwhelming majority of its citizens—to the private sphere, it burst into the public arena in the late 1990s, becoming part of party politics. As religion became political, symbols of Kemalism—the official ideology of the Turkish Republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923—spread throughout the private sphere. In Nostalgia for the Modern, Esra Özyürek analyzes the ways that Turkish citizens began to express an attachment to—and nostalgia for—the secularist, modernist, and nationalist foundations of the Turkish Republic.
Drawing on her ethnographic research in Istanbul and Ankara during the late 1990s, Özyürek describes how ordinary Turkish citizens demonstrated their affinity for Kemalism in the ways they organized their domestic space, decorated their walls, told their life stories, and interpreted political developments. She examines the recent interest in the private lives of the founding generation of the Republic, reflects on several privately organized museum exhibits about the early Republic, and considers the proliferation in homes and businesses of pictures of Atatürk, the most potent symbol of the secular Turkish state. She also explores the organization of the 1998 celebrations marking the Republic’s seventy-fifth anniversary. Özyürek’s insights into how state ideologies spread through private and personal realms of life have implications for all societies confronting the simultaneous rise of neoliberalism and politicized religion.
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Portions of chapter 2 previously appeared in ''Wedded to the Republic: Public Intellectuals and Intimacy Oriented Publics in Turkey,'' in O√ Stage/On Display: Intimacies and Ethnographies in the Age ofPublic Culture, edited by Andrew ...
... cafeterias on campus turned out to be among the most interesting intellectual exchanges I would ever have. The larger intellectual community of Bo ̆gaziçi spread around the world is the primary addressee of my thinking and writing.
The Young Turks of Ann Arbor provided me with the right kind of intellectual and emotional support to write and stay sane. I am mostly thankful to Aslı Gür, Asli I ̆gsız, and Cihan Tu ̆gal. My mentors Bruce Mannheim, Müge Göçek, ...
I argue that the Kemalist political, intellectual, and army elite, as well as their citizen supporters, utilized market-oriented symbols of neoliberalism, along with powerfully authoritarian measures, in order to defend their ideology ...
In the 1990s increasing numbers of Islamists, Kurdish nationalists, and liberal intellectuals argued that the oppressive reforms of the Turkish state were creating a secular public ideology and ritual not e√ectively integrated with ...
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The Public History in the Private Story
Displaying Transformations in Private Lives
The Commodification of State Iconography
Civilian Celebrations of the Turkish State
Kemalist and Islamist Versions of the Early Republic