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Title: The contemporary women's movement in Turkey : the potential for working across differences
Author: Dincer, Pelin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 4930
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis focuses on the challenges faced by the contemporary women’s movement in Turkey, which are a result of Turkish political history. After the Turkish Republic was founded in 1923, many political, social, economic and cultural policy changes took place to establish a secular and modern nation-state that set westernisation and modernisation as their primary goals. The century-old women’s movement in Turkey, which can be traced back to the Ottoman era in the late nineteenth-century, was mainly under the influence of this Kemalist modernisation process from the 1920s until the 1980s, when feminism came to the fore. In the 1990s, however, a new phase in the women's movement emerged with the rise of religious and Kurdish women’s movements, both of which have challenged Kemalism and feminism. This thesis focuses on these fragmentations within the women’s movement in Turkey and discusses the possibilities and ways of doing politics together across political and identity differences among women by analysing the potential for solidarity and coalition building/alliance. I explore the differences and similarities among these varied ideological, political and identity positions through 35 in-depth interviews with activists and academics representing each of these different groups. I discuss activist women’ perceptions and their positions on gender, religion and ethnicity as well as their views of each other. I analyse the points of tension among them and the potential for working together based on their approach to women’s solidarity and coalition work. I argue that coalition building/alliance is a realistic and promising way to bring activists together in Turkey to solve problems related to all/many of them. It fosters an environment for women’s solidarity to grow and thus activists can transform their cooperation within alliances into solidarity. Finally, I suggest that coalition politics can pave the way to transversal politics, whereby activists can find a realm aside from the exclusionary structures of universalism and identity politics, which I argue to be one of the main problems of the women’s movement in Turkey. It could, then, potentially help activists to overcome the barriers to solidarity by increasing respect and understanding of their differences without becoming trapped by them.
Supervisor: Stevi, Jackson Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available