Politics of re-building hegemony and the subject in post-1997 Turkey
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This study aims to analyze the interrelation between hegemony and the subject within the case of the February 28 process, which refers to the military’s long-term project to reshape the Turkish social and political system which had brought the Islamist Refah Partisi (RP - Welfare Party) to the office after the 1995 general elections. It sets out to analyze through what mechanisms the military attempted to re-institute secularism and how the religious groups responded to this process. Taking the Gramscian approach to power at its theoretical background, this dissertation argues that studies on hegemony should go beyond the dichotomies such as domination versus resistance, or cooptation versus subversion. Instead, it offers multiple responses the subaltern subject may give. These “strategies of survival” include exit, submission, liminal resistance, and violence. Framing Turkey’s “postmodern coup” as a hegemonic project, this dissertation examines the coercive and consensual means employed by the military to refashion Turkey’s political, economic, and social texture. The responses of the religious subaltern are analyzed within the three case studies, which are the National Vision movement, the Islamic capital with special reference to the Islamic finance, and the Islamist music in the political, economic, and socio-cultural fields, respectively. The February 28 process became a milestone in Turkish politics that defined the political alignments in the subsequent decades. This dissertation argues that globalization and the adoption of Western norms have become a strategy of survival for the religious subaltern. While the post-Islamists adopted a pro-Western liberal approach, the secularists moved towards a more state-centered communitarian conception of politics.