The “Turkish Model” of Sociology: East–West Science, State Formation, and the Post-Secular
The field of sociology in Turkey has a history that is perhaps unique to Europe (and the “West”) in its co-founding with a modern nation-state, and yet its story is more central to the discipline’s general development than that of a marginal “outlier.” Positioned at an East–west crossroads, Turkey, and its sociological tradition, have been in an ongoing conversation between the two cultural poles. Drawing on Edward Said’s Orientalism, this article traces the discipline’s history through the lens of an East–west gaze. Touching on the lived public social questions that this story invokes, regarding ethnic relations, gender, migration, democracy-building, religion, and international relations, this article surveys the growth and present state of the discipline, including methodological trends and current issues.
KeywordsTurkish sociology Turkey Orientalism History of sociology Post-secular Gender
The author would like to extend her appreciation to the following individuals who provided invaluable assistance through their suggestions and the provision of critical information: Kristen Biehl, Serife Genis, Tülay Kaya, Nora Fisher Onar, Anoush Terjanian, Antoine Terjanian, the anonymous reviewers from The American Sociologist, and editor Larry Nichols. Thank you to the members of the sociology department at Bilgi University. And I am also indebted to the Open Society Foundations for the opportunity to contribute to their Istanbul-based summer school, with particular appreciation to Rasjit Basi and Alex Irwin.
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