The emergence and evolution of a politicized market : the production and circulation of Kurdish music Turkey

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Bilkent University
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This dissertation explicates the emergence and evolution of a market for Kurdish music in Turkey. Using ethnographic methods, I start by detailing the illegal circulation of cassettes during the restrictive and strife-laden period of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Through the resistive practices of circulation - recording, hiding, playing, and exchanging cassettes – cassettes became saturated with emotions, established shared emotional repertoires, and habituated individuals and collectives into common emotional dispositions. An emotional structure was generated, and accompanied the emergence of a sense of “us,” the delineation of the “other,” and the resistive relationship between the two. I thus demonstrate the entwinement of materiality with emotions, and the structuring potentiality that this entwinement generates. In the second part, I ethnographically explore the trajectory of the market after legalization in 1991. Situated within a context characterized by the sociopolitical dynamics of domination and stigmatization, I detail how market producers collectively construct an oppositional “market culture” by framing their marketrelated experiences, as well as by interacting with and borrowing ideological codes from the neighboring Kurdish political movement. These frames become entrenched as a political-normative logic, shaping artistic production and business decisions. This emergent logic negotiates societal-level conflict and stigma, and also resolves the market-level tension between artistic and commercial concerns. Finally, I explore the segmentation of the market in conjunction with changes in the socio-political atmosphere in the 2000s. I discuss how segmentation also corresponds to competing social imaginaries of a Kurdish public.

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Materiality, Emotional Structures, Community Market Formation, Framing, Political Normativity, Institutionalization, Social Movements, Market Culture, Stigmatization, Domination, Segmentation
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