Turkey has leapt to international prominence as an economic and political powerhouse under its elected Muslim government, and is looked on by many as a model for other Muslim countries in the wake of the Arab Spring. In this book, Jenny White reveals how Turkish national identity and the meanings of Islam and secularism have undergone radical changes in today’s Turkey, and asks whether the Turkish model should be viewed as a success story or a cautionary tale. This provocative book traces how Muslim nationalists blur the line between the secular and the Islamic, supporting globalization and political liberalism, yet remaining mired in authoritarianism, intolerance, and cultural norms hostile to minorities and women.
In a new afterword, White analyzes the latest political developments, particularly the mass protests surrounding Gezi Park, their impact on Turkish political culture, and what they mean for the future.
Jenny White is professor of anthropology at Boston University. She is the author of Islamist Mobilization in Turkey and Money Makes Us Relatives: Women’s Labor in Urban Turkey.
"[E]xcellent. . . . White makes a number of nuanced arguments, most significantly about the secularization of Turkish Islam and what she terms the sanctification of its secular sphere."--Kaya Genç, Los Angeles Review of Books
"[P]iercing and original analysis . . ."--Economist
"[A]deeply insightful book. . . . [T]he writing is . . . clear and straightforward, and the book is chock-full of rich tidbits from Turkish society. . . . Filled with insight, Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks is sure to become a leading text for those looking to read the Turkish tea leaves . . ."--David Lepeska, The National
"Even for those already familiar with contemporary Turkey, this sometimes disturbing book will be an eye opener"--.John Waterbury, Foreign Affairs
"This anthropological work is grounded in a deep knowledge of Turkey, nourished by White's successive long stays and periods of fieldwork in the country; yet it is also a judicious compilation of key secondary sources."--Clémence Scalbert-Yucel, Times Higher Education
"Jenny White has provided readers with insightful and nuanced access to the complexities of Turkish society and a first look at a newly emerging class of individualist Muslim nationalists."--Zeynep Kosereisoglu, Muftah
"[T]his is a good book worth reading by those concerned with Turkey and broader issues of democratic transitions in the Muslim world."--Hurriyet Daily News
"In this multilayered, theoretically sophisticated, and analytically rich examination of the contradictions and convergences found in contemporary expressions of 'Turkishness,' especially with respect to Muslim and secular forms of nationalisms, White offers an interpretation that reinforces Barth's emphasis on pluralism, choice, and negotiation, while also demonstrating greater understanding and synthesis of the constraints of gender, class, ethnicity, and religion."--Choice
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Chapter 2 Islam and the Nation 24
Chapter 3 The Republic of Fear 54
Chapter 4 The Missionary and the Headscarf 80
Chapter 5 No Mixing 102
Chapter 6 Sex and the Nation: Veiled Identity 136
Chapter 7 Choice and Community: The Girl with Blue Hair 163
Chapter 8 Conclusion 181
Afterword to the new paperback edition 197