Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 593–616 | Cite as

More than Subversion: Four Strategies for the Dominated

  • Barış BüyükokutanEmail author
  • Hale Şaşmaz


This article asks what strategies are available to dominated actors in fields of cultural production. Using archival and biographical materials on Ottoman/Turkish women intellectuals, we show that they effectively used, depending on their social and cultural capital and their past practices, at least four strategies. Apart from the well-theorized strategy of subversion, they could also deploy acquiescence, collaboration, and defiance. These four strategies, we argue, constitute a two-dimensional space defined by loyalty vs. resistance on one hand and the overtness vs. covertness of loyalty or resistance on the other. While much of this space is best understood in terms of reciprocal social exchange, the assumptions of exchange break down in the case of overt resistance, showing that strategy goes beyond negotiation and that the understanding of power as always-already implicated with resistance has limits.


Women intellectuals Ottoman empire Turkey Strategy Bourdieu Subversion 



The two co-authors have contributed equally to this manuscript. The research was funded by the Scientific and Technological Research Institute of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), grant number 115 K098. An earlier version was presented at the Third Pierre Bourdieu Symposium in Antalya, Turkey. We would like to thank Didem Havlioğlu, Sevcan Karcı, Tuna Kuyucu, three anonymous reviewers, and the Editor-in-Chief of Qualitative Sociology for their invaluable comments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyKoç UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Southeast European HistoryHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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