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Secular Bodyscapes: Corporeal and Emotional Intersections of Security and Secularism in the Turkish Military

Secular Bodyscapes: Corporeal and Emotional Intersections of Security and Secularism in the Turkish Military

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Title: Secular Bodyscapes: Corporeal and Emotional Intersections of Security and Secularism in the Turkish Military
Author: Arik, Hulya
Abstract: This dissertation examines the security discourses of the Turkish military from the 1980s to 2000s in relation to the rise of political Islam and explores the sexual and corporeal co-constructions of security and secularism in protection of the sovereignty of the Turkish nation-state. As a grassroots identity movement, political Islam has always been perceived as a threat to secularism, as a political principle and a cultural practice, since the beginning of the Turkish Republic (1923). However, particularly from the 1980s onwards, Islamism gained power in party politics and cultural visibility in public space and it entered the Turkish militarys security agenda. In its capacity as the guardian of the republic, the Turkish military constituted a crucial force in securitization of Islamism both in political platforms, in public space and within the military structure with expressive reference to embodiment of such risk by womens Islamic headscarf.

I analyze the results of ethnographic research conducted in Turkey in 2011, which includes participant observations in military bases in Mugla and Istanbul, in-depth interviews with military officers families, and my experiences as a researcher from a military family. I explore how female subjectivity is positioned at the intersection of religious and secular discourses and how the militarys security discourse identified, regulated and excluded particular manifestations of religious identity by designating them as risk to national security. I demonstrate that the security regulations of the military operate at the same time as secular risk governance and reveal how the security discourses of the Turkish military take place within the larger frame of secular governmentality.
Research findings demonstrate that womens bodies and their sexual identities are shaped by security discourses that are based and build upon particular constructions of secularism in Turkey. Examination of military regulations on Islamic headscarf, reveal that the female body is constructed as the ground on which secular/religious distinctions become clarified. I discuss the centrality of corporeal and emotional dispositions in creating the vagueness and ambiguities that secularism dwells on. Through the concept of secular bodyscapes, I demonstrate how space is constructed through emotions and corporeality in the exercise of modern sovereignty.
Subject: Political Science
Keywords: Female body
Geography of emotions
Turkish military
Political Islam
Secular governmentality
Corporeal geography
Securitization of religion
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/35610
Supervisor: Bain, Alison L.
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Geography
Exam date: 2015-10-15
Publish on: 2018-11-26

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