Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNorthwestern U.
Grant numberGr. 9295
Approve DateApril 19, 2016
Project TitleOzipek, Aydin, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'The Promise of Authenticity: Civilizing Youth and Branding the Nation in Contemporary Islamist Turkey,' supervise by Dr. Jessica R.Winegar
Preliminary abstract: My project explores the processes through which notions of authentic national culture and identity are enacted and negotiated in the encounters between Islamist state officials and urban youth in Istanbul. Through ethnographic fieldwork in youth-oriented culture centers and youth’s alternative sites of self-making, it looks at how the Islamist Turkish state blends its nation-branding efforts with a campaign to cultivate a pious and more politically-compliant youth generation following the Gezi uprising. Attempting to rewrite the national past and to offer youth a compelling future horizon, the state aims to contain domestic dissent and counter transnational challenges by turning youth’s shifting temporal orientations into a means of government control. My research explores the ways urban youth respond to the state’s culture projects as they strive to craft their selves in the face of economic hardships, political uncertainty, and ambiguities surrounding symbolic inclusion. This project aims to answer two interrelated questions: 1) How do state actors and institutions use expressive culture in attempts to cultivate youth into civilized national citizens, and what economic, political, and symbolic promises does the state make and what forms of government control and citizenship does it promote through its youth-oriented culture projects? 2) How do young people perceive, challenge, or manipulate the state’s expressive culture in their engagement with or refusal of these projects, and what other forms of expressive culture do youth create that might aspire to other kinds of biographical or national futures? My project will therefore show how uncertainty paves the way for new forms of governance as well as for alternative means of negotiating citizenship.