The historical "Stickiness" of nationalism inside Turkey's political field
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This article revisits modern Turkish political history with a specific focus on trajectories of Turkish nationalism, from the end of the nineteenth century of the Ottoman Empire, to the forms it takes under Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule today. The discussion is theoretically embedded within a relational political-sociological framework that utilizes the "field analysis" approach developed by Pierre Bourdieu. Using this approach, this paper argues that a workable, explanatory political-sociological "surface" of analysis of Turkish politics might be "the political field." It further argues that inside this field of political forces and competing groups, there is an ordering principle that supplies the political actors with a set of beliefs concerning "what can be politicized for sustainable power." In this study, nationalism is treated as a kind of historically constituted and re-constituted "set of beliefs," or doxa in Bourdieu's terminology. The paper further explores two long-lasting "challenges" to Turkish nationalism, those of Islamist and Kurdish claims, and the recent trajectories of these two forms of politics inside the field. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.