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The Turkishness Contract and the Formation of Turkishness
Drawing on (but not entirely limited to) the conceptual tools of Critical Race Theory, I aim to present a model by which we might examine the relations between the historical constitution and contemporary functioning of Turkishness; the socio-genesis of the Turkish nation and state and the psycho-genesis of the Turkish individual; the thoughts and feelings of Turks; and the structural privileges and unconsciousness strategies of Turkishness. What I mean by Turkishness is not a bond of citizenship, a cultural identity, or a form of ideological belonging, as in Turkish nationalism. Rather, Turkishness points to certain structures of thought, feeling, ways of acting, strategies, and performances that, for all their differences across lines of class, gender, or ideological belonging, also display a number of important shared characteristics that transcend such lines of differentiation. Setting out from Bourdieu’s definition of habitus as “history turned into nature”, I will discuss the Turkishness Contract in terms of how it transformed history into the habitus of Turkishness. Just as the Turkishness Contract constructed the habitus of Turkishness, it also left its imprint on everyday relations between Turks and non-Turks, a phenomenon I analyze through Erving Goffman’s concept of “interaction order”. In other words, the Turkishness Contract has also shaped the epistemic, emotive, and behavioral patterns of extra-contractual non-Turks who have to interact with Turks in public spaces every single day. Yet, non-Turks have to deal not only with Turkish individuals, but also with Turkish institutions (schools, universities, mosques, army, companies, courts, national assembly, political parties, etc.) in which, just to name a few, they receive education and compulsory military training, pray, look for a job, bring a lawsuit, do politics, and struggle for their rights. Therefore, understanding the logic of the Turkishness Contract might also be helpful to understand the Kurdish Issue better in its various dimensions.
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