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Title: Kemalism and hegemony : the Turkish experience with secularism in the post-1990s
Author: Damar, E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 6648
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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Although Kemalist secularism is often considered as a distinctively unique secularization project, dominant approaches have the tendency of reducing it either to an imitation of idealized West-oriented secularism models, or to a necessary product of specific historical conditions of the Ottoman-Turkish context. This thesis questions these dominant tendencies for they run the risk of disregarding the creative and original interventions of the Kemalist elite through which a distinctively unique conception of secularism, secular identity, and secular subjectivity is formed in Turkey. This thesis suggests that without studying the ideological and subjectivity dimensions, the specificity and complexity of Kemalist secularism cannot be explored adequately. Accordingly, it argues that Kemalist secularism is a distinctively unique modality of secularism because it came into existence in and through the operationalization of a peculiar ideological force, which I call the Orientalist fantasy. Chapter 1 introduces the poststructuralist hegemonic approach and poststructuralist discourse analysis that I employed in this thesis to study what I call the hegemonic formation and operationalization of Kemalist secularism. Drawing on the discourses of the first generation Kemalist elites with special reference to the enactment of the Hat Law in the early Republican era (1923-1938), chapter 2 discusses what is meant by the Orientalist fantasy, and the historical conditions of its emergence. Drawing on the Kemalist secularist discourses on the so-called 'new veiling question', chapter 3 discusses the operational force and main characteristics of the Orientalist fantasy in post1990s Turkey. By introducing the categories of emotional affiliation and structures of feeling, chapters 4 and 5 discuss the endurance of the Orientalist fantasy. Drawing on the Kemalist secularist discourses on the so-called the February 28th (1997) 'postmodern coup' in chapter 4, and on the rise of the 'new Islamic' Justice and Development Party government in chapter 5, I introduce harassment and fear as two central structures of feeling that endure the Orientalist fantasy. The concluding chapter summarizes the main arguments of the thesis, incorporates the normative and ideological implications of the analysis, explicates the advances of the poststructuralist approach over dominant approaches in studying the Turkish experience with secularism, and introduces sorts of research questions the thesis opens up for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available