We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Islamist Mobilization in Turkey

A Study in Vernacular Politics

by Jenny B. White

Publication Year: 2002

This ethnography of contemporary Istanbul charts the success of Islamist mobilization through the eyes of ordinary people. Drawing on interviews gathered over twenty years of fieldwork, White focuses on the appeal of Islamic politics in the fabric of Turkish society and among mobilizing and mobilized elites, women, and educated populations.

Published by: University of Washington Press

Series: Studies in Modernity and National Identity

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (80.5 KB)
pp. ix-xi

I became interested in questions of political process when I returned in 1994 to the working-class neighborhood of Ümraniye in Istanbul, Turkey, after having spent considerable time there over the preceding eight years in the course of a different research project. During that...


pdf iconDownload PDF (49.4 KB)
pp. xii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (177.8 KB)
pp. 3-28

In November 1997, people in living rooms and offices all over Turkey were hotly debating the seemingly inexorable progress of the Constitutional Court toward a decision to shut down Turkey's most prominent and successful Islam-based political party, the Welfare Party...

read more

1. The Political Economy of Culture

pdf iconDownload PDF (275.9 KB)
pp. 29-76

A distinctive aspect of the Islamist movement in Turkey is the variety of characteristics and motivations of its followers. Social class, profession, educational level, age, and gender all condition what people want to get out of their participation in the movement, and how...

read more

2. Religion and Politics in the Everyday

pdf iconDownload PDF (256.7 KB)
pp. 77-102

What do these politicized categories and socioeconomic transformations mean to people in Ümraniye? What role do religion and cultural norms play in their political choices? People mobilize around a political or religious ideology for reasons inherent in their personal...

read more

3. The Institutional Expression of Islam

pdf iconDownload PDF (144.6 KB)
pp. 103-130

Vernacular politics links neighborhood networks with local civic and national political institutions. Through these institutional links, different social groups coordinate their interests and move together seemingly in the same direction. In this chapter, I will discuss the diversity of religious belief and expression in Turkey at the...

read more

4. Generation X and the Virtue Party

pdf iconDownload PDF (219.7 KB)
pp. 131-155

While Istanbul's population is pulled toward opposite political and social poles, boundaries blur between the lifestyles, beliefs, interests, goals, and fashions that are meant to represent these poles. Differences in Islamist religious beliefs, political styles, and relations to supporters and to institutions are given a further twist by generational...

read more

5. Populism: Democracy Is Peace of Mind

pdf iconDownload PDF (149.2 KB)
pp. 156-177

The Welfare (and later Virtue) Party's populism derived not only from the characteristics of its leaders, but from the manner in which the party situated its ideological message within local cultural norms. This was accomplished informally through interpretation by activists...

read more

6. Civil Society: In Whose Service?

pdf iconDownload PDF (233.9 KB)
pp. 178-211

Civic groups provided arenas within which Islamist activism was coordinated. In Ümraniye, neighborhood cells supported party' related associations, an Islamic charity foundation, and the municipality. Although they worked closely together, the foundation insisted upon its autonomy from both party and municipal administration...

read more

7. Islamist Elitism and Women's Choices

pdf iconDownload PDF (235.0 KB)
pp. 212-241

Women's opportunities and choices are affected by the economic conditions of their environment, whether they view themselves as Muslim, Islamist, or secularist. Within the boundaries of economic possibility, there is a broad space of movement within which women can strategize and manipulate existing options and pursue new...

read more

8. Secular Activism in Ümraniye

pdf iconDownload PDF (163.6 KB)
pp. 242-260

Secularist activists in Ümraniye used strategies of organization similar to those of the Islamists to mobilize residents around an ideologically focused program. But while they were able to carry out educational and charity activities like the Islamists, the secularist activists were...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (103.2 KB)
pp. 261-272

Vernacular politics is an autonomous, grassroots political process, incorporating a variety of actors and views, in which local networks work in tandem with political parties and civic organizations in a sustained social and political movement. It is generally associated with...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (85.5 KB)
pp. 273-276

The bulk of the research for this book was carried out between 1995 and 1998, and writing was completed in 2000. Since then, several interesting developments have occurred that speak directly to the thesis of this book. The Virtue Party was banned in June 2001, with the conservative...


pdf iconDownload PDF (85.4 KB)
pp. 277-280


pdf iconDownload PDF (95.5 KB)
pp. 281-288


pdf iconDownload PDF (349.0 KB)
pp. 289-299

E-ISBN-13: 9780295802275
E-ISBN-10: 0295802278
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295982915
Print-ISBN-10: 0295982918

Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: Studies in Modernity and National Identity