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Title: Social theory and later modernities : the Turkish experience
Author: Kaya, Ibrahim
ISNI:       0000 0000 8123 4626
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis investigates the socio-historical developments of Turkey in the light of current developments in the tradition of comparative-historical sociology by according a central place to the ‘concept of varieties of modernity’ in the analysis. The debate on varieties of modernity is a response and a contribution to new theoretical developments regarding modernity. And this thesis is set in the conceptual context of the current debate on varieties of modernity by aiming at understanding the Turkish experience as a particular model of modernity. The starting-point of the thesis is the possibility of the emergence of ‘multiple modernities’ with their specific interpretations of the ‘imaginary significations of modernity’. As a consequence, a critique of perspectives that reduce modernization of non-western societies to Westernization emerges immediately. Thus, the assumed equivalence between the West and modernity is problematized through the themes of the ‘plurality’ of civilizations, histories, modernizing agents and projects of modernity. The concept of ‘later modernities’ is suggested as a category for certain varieties of modernity, entirely different from the Western model. The term ‘later modernities’ refers in particular to non-western experiences that came about as distinct models of modernity, different from the West European experience, in the absence of colonization. In this context, the Turkish experience is a particular modernization an analysis of which is able to clarify the argument for varieties of modernity: the Turkish experience has been so far analysed only as a mere case of Westernization. By analysing both civilizational patterns and modernizing agents of Turkey, this thesis suggests that Turkish modernity cannot be read as a version of the Western model. This conclusion is reached through examining Turkish history in terms of a ‘singularization of culture’ against the view that sees Turkey as a border country between the West and Islam. It is argued that the division between West and East is, in fact, irrelevant in the case of Turkey. Therefore, the Turkish experience, as later modernity, does not express a Western model of modernity nor does it correspond to a ‘pure’ Islamic East. The distinctive traits of Turkish modernity are analysed on the basis of the following themes: the nationalizing process, the configuration of state, society and economy; Islam; the woman question. Finally, the lessons from the Turkish experience for a social theory of modernity are discussed in terms of conclusions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology