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Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey: Bodies, Places, and Time

Alev Çinar
Series: Public Worlds
Volume: 14
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 212
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  • Book Info
    Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey
    Book Description:

    Alev Çınar's examination of contemporary Turkey, which stands at the threshold of East and West, of religious and secular nationalism, explores modernity through daily practices and the social construction of identity and political agency in relation to nationalism, secularism, and Islam. Using local details and —including an intriguing discussion of veiling—Çınar reveals modernity as a transformative intervention in bodies, places, and times.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9632-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-32)

    Modernityis perhaps one of the most controversial terms in scholarly literature, and to it is ascribed many, sometimes contradictory, meanings. The fact that it has been and continues to be such a constitutive part of social, political, cultural, and economic life all over the world compels scholars of different disciplines to address the term, serving to further proliferate its meaning and complicate its usage.Modernitymay refer to a lifestyle, a culture, a discourse, a historical epoch, a movement, a project, a mind-set, an intellectual trend, to capitalism, industrialization, democracy, constitutionalism, or secularism. Sometimes it is generalized to mean...

  5. 1 Performative Politics and the Public Gaze
    (pp. 33-52)

    This study embraces a broader approach to the study of politics by taking the context of daily life in the public sphere as the main locus of political activity. Politics is understood not as confined to an analysis of political structures or formal institutions, but as an ongoing activity of negotiations and confrontations in daily life through which hierarchies of power, political agency, and subjectivity are constructed. If politics involves the generation of power relations through various interventions in different fields of daily life, politics needs to be conceptualized as inseparably associated with a fluid understanding of culture that can...

  6. 2 Clothing the National Body: Islamic Veiling and Secular Unveiling
    (pp. 53-98)

    The body is one of the most important sites where modernizing interventions take place and the parameters of the public sphere are established. The body emerges as a significant site of interventions and negotiations for two reasons. First, it stands out as one of the most potent symbols of the nation and the state. State authority and power are often represented in the body of the ruler, the head of the state. Nationalist movements across the world employ the female body as a symbol of the nation.¹ Hence, the building of a state and the creation of a nation involve...

  7. 3 Cities, Squares, and Statues: The Use of Public Space in the Making of the Nation
    (pp. 99-137)

    An essential component of nationalist projects that seek to institute a new sense of nationhood and define a new national subject is the construction of national space. The institutionalization of a sense of nationhood requires that the nation be thought of as a finite community of people living on clearly demarcated land. The sense of singularity and unity that is so essential to the making of a nation is relevant not only to the people constituting the nation, but also to the land upon which they live. Therefore, the creation of a sense of unified territory becomes a vital component...

  8. 4 Performing the Nation: Public Contestations of National History
    (pp. 138-167)

    Just as modernization and nation-building involve interventions related to bodies so as to constitute a sense of nation as a single, monolithic body, and interventions related to places so as to create a sense of a unified, single national land, they also involve interventions related to time so as to create a sense of a homogeneous, linear, and singular national history. The singularity and linearity of time are such firmly established principles of modernity and nationalism that time has come to be perceived as a naturalized, taken for granted, and invisible component of politics. The concerted efforts of nationalist projects...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 168-178)

    This study began with the premise that modernity is an intervention related to bodies, places, and times so as to displace and induce movement. It is an intervention that displaces by defaming the present so that movement toward the future begins, an intervention that makes the present look so unpleasant that the modern subject is oriented to move away from it toward something better. As such, modernizing interventions involve a two-fold projection. The existing condition is projected as a malady, and the future ideal is projected as a goal toward which transformation is to take place. This transformation is made...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 179-192)
  11. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 193-196)
  12. Index
    (pp. 197-199)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 200-200)