Islamist Mobilization in Turkey
A Study in Vernacular Politics
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: University of Washington Press
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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...
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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...
1. The Political Economy of Culture
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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...
2. Religion and Politics in the Everyday
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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...
3. The Institutional Expression of Islam
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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...
4. Generation X and the Virtue Party
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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...
5. Populism: Democracy Is Peace of Mind
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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...
6. Civil Society: In Whose Service?
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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...
7. Islamist Elitism and Women's Choices
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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...
8. Secular Activism in Ümraniye
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Publication Year: 2002
Series Title: Studies in Modernity and National Identity
Series Editor Byline: Edited by Sibel Bozdogan and Resat Kasaba