Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey

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Author: Yaprak Gursoy
Date: Winter 2007
From: Canadian Journal of History(Vol. 42, Issue 3)
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Document Type: Book review
Length: 890 words
Lexile Measure: 1280L

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Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey, by Esra Ozyurek. Politics, History, and Culture series. Durham, North Carolina, Duke University Press, 2006. 227 pp. $74.95 US (cloth), $21.95 US (paper).

Esra Ozyurek's anthropological analysis investigates the reactions of the secular, Republican, and Kemalist Turkish citizens against the rise of political Islam in the late 1990s. Ozyurek argues in her book that secular and nationalist citizens have privatized the Kemalist state ideology. Market neoliberalism has influenced this trend: the state ideology has become a commodity and is disseminated not only by state institutions, but also by civil society organizations. Secular Turkish citizens publicly display their private support for Kemalism in order to demonstrate that the state ideology is .voluntarily embraced. Nostalgia has been an important component of this new Kemalism. The 1930s mark the early years of the Turkish Republic, when the main principles of the state ideology were initiated under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. These years are now remembered, turned into personalized commodities, and portrayed as a pure past which set Turkey on the path toward (true) modernity.

Ozyurek's work is original and offers a fresh look at the rise of political Islam in Turkey and its consequences. Her narration and frequent anecdotes of her own personal and family experience engage the reader and make the...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A178348713