"Servant Princess" of the modern home : domesticity and femininity in Turkey after electrification, 1923-1950

Date
2014
Advisor
Savaş, Özlem
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Bilkent University
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English
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Abstract

This dissertation deals with the question how modern domesticity and modern femininity were discursively constructed in the advertisements and other promotional texts of electric appliances published between 1923 and 1950 in popular women’s and family magazines in Turkey. The issue is framed within socio-historical technology studies and the feminist histories of the early republican period. Moving forward from the claim that electricity had to be first domesticated to enter the homes, the study searches for the gendered connotations of this process. Besides, it ponders over the ways women are interpellated as modern subjects by the representations in question. To this end the dissertation carries on a discourse analysis of the visual and textual representations of electricity and electric powered domestic appliances. The images are discussed in their potential to bring forth the ambiguities in the definitions of modern domesticity and femininity. Analysis revealed that neither the middle-class ethos of domesticity nor the chaste woman of this family was the only idealized form of domesticity and femininity by the official discourses. There were rather different modernities defined distinctly based on various class positions all of which were approved by the republican cadres.

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Domestic Electrification, Electric Appliances, Domesticity, Femininity, Modernization
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Published Version (Please cite this version)