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The Decline and Resurgence of Turkish Islamism: The Story of Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP

Abstract

For decades, Turkish Islamists have failed to attract the votes of large sections of society and remained marginal. As a result of this failure to come to power, and due to domestic and international constraints and windows of opportunities, they have declared that they have jettisoned Islamism. Many Turkish Muslims whose religious disposition was shaped by the pluralistic urban Ottoman experience and small-town Anatolian traditionalism, and by the contesting currents of cosmopolitan pluralism and rural social conservatism, voted in favour of these former Islamists who have become “Muslim Democrats”. This paper elaborates on the genealogy of Turkish Islamists and their political trajectories and argues that when the forces and constraints of domestic and external social, political and economic conditions disappeared and the opportunities derived from being Muslim Democrats no longer existed, the former Islamists easily returned to their original ideology, showing that despite assertions to the contrary their respect for democracy and pluralism had not truly been internalised. This paper also aims to demonstrate that similar to other authoritarian populists, Erdoganists perceive the state and its leader as more important than anything else and as being above everything else, which has culminated in a personality cult and sanctification of the state. As long as Turkey’s economy continued to boom, almost everyone was happy that Turkey could readily market the “Muslim Democrats” story to the whole world for a long period as a major success story, or as an “exemplary Muslim country” or “model”. Yet, Middle Eastern elites and Western forces got carried away and learnt the hard way just how naive their view was in perhaps the first great transformation movement of the twenty-first century – the Arab Spring. Likewise, the Turkish Spring turned all too quickly towards autumn and then winter.

Open access
Intercultural Public Intellectual Engagement

Abstract

The article firstly examines the different conceptions of dialogue and reason within political theory, especially in the work of Rawls. Secondly we explore multicultural political theorists who have been motivated less by abstract reasoning by a sole reasoner or identical identity-less individuals and more by dialogue. For such multiculturalists, the principles of social justice are not known in advance or simply by reason, but are arrived at by conflict and learning, by dialogue and negotiation in circumstances of inequality and minority-claims making. In response to the multiculturalists, interculturalists allege that multiculturalism is too focused on the macro and the conflictual, and dialogue should be redirected to the micro and the cooperative. Although I welcome the interculturalists’ focus on micro-relations, this does not require abandoning the idea of dialogue at the level of political controversies and public discourses. It is not an either–or choice because groups and intergroup problems exist in society and cannot be simply handled at a micro level of contact, interaction and sociability. The kind of macro-level dialogue that I am speaking of can also be understood as a form of public intellectual engagement that can contribute to societal dialogues.

Open access
National Identity Formation in Pakistan: Analysis of the Anti-Secular Narrative

Abstract

Soon after its declaration as an Islamic Republic in 1956, Islamists have experienced numerous ups and downs in Pakistan. Islamists not only try to maintain the status quo of the Islamic state but also endeavour to expand the scope of sharia. Despite insignificant achievements in elections, Islamists have mostly been able to dictate civilian and military governments in matters of national identity. One of the greatest challenges for the promotion of pluralism is the Islamists’ anti-secular narrative, which holds significant backing from both the civil and the military elites. The goal of this paper is to analyse such narrative with reference to Pakistan’s continuous struggle for national identity. ‘The analyses propose that anti-secular voices are occupying centre stage in Pakistan, leaving little room for diverse opinions. Anti-secular groups use violence as a tool to silence any opposition against their ideology for Pakistan, which is evident by regular attacks on not only the religious minorities but also the moderate or liberal Muslim thinkers. The conflict over national identity between extremists and moderates is also one of the main causes of rising violent extremism in Pakistan.

Open access
Reclaiming Citizenship in the Post-Democratic Condition

Abstract

This article reviews the central problematique of citizenship, arguing that the challenges imposed by neoliberal globalisation involve the loss of political, social and civil rights. By negating the mediations performed by citizenship between the people and the state, post-democracy renders citizenship meaningless. The article traces two main responses to this, a reactionary and a progressive one, none of which can address the problems of citizenship. The grains of a new response are found in three developments: a new ontology of the citizen, brought into being through digital acts; the existence of dual power, creating new forms of governance and social reproduction from below; and between these, the development of new procedures that directly engage with state power. Taken together, these considerations indicate a new possibility for the radicalisation of citizenship rather than a return to the former state of affairs.

Open access
The Artist as a Contemporary Pattern of Masculinity. Milieu-specific Strategies of Coping with Precariousness

Abstract

Based on a qualitative study on heterosexual female breadwinner couples, this article investigates milieu-specific coping strategies vis-à-vis conditions of precariousness and insecure employment. Against the background of the decline of the male breadwinner model, the study especially focuses on the transformations of masculinity. The article develops the thesis that an “artistic” self-image functions as a specific coping mechanism in the individualized milieu of the educated urban upper middle class.

Open access
Being a Music Performer in French Speaking Switzerland: Relationships to Work and Employment

Abstract

Ordinary musicians are a relatively hard to find population. Based on the results of the research project Musicians’ LIVES carried out between 2012 and 2015, this article presents the working situation of performing musicians in French speaking Switzerland. We compare the social characteristics of the musicians with the active population. We then analyse musicians’ relationship to work and examine the composition of their income. Three main ways of being a musician in Western Switzerland are presented: the “craftsman,” the “teacher” and the “artist.”

Open access
Being an Author: Literary Identities of Work in the Contemporary German Literary Field

Abstract

This article considers the normative conceptions and images that contemporary German fiction authors associate with their own work. On the basis of twenty narrative interviews, the article examines the extent to which the different self-reflections of authors manifest themselves in subjective interpretations and literary practices, which in turn reflect the economic and social structure of the literary field. This study aims at an empirical reconstruction of typical notions of authorship.

Open access
Contingent High-Skilled Work and Flexible Labor Markets. Creative Workers and Independent Contractors Cycling Between Employment and Unemployment

Abstract

Flexibility in highly skilled jobs combines the characteristics of the secondary and the professional labor market, which oblige to revise the separation between salaried work and self-employment. Two cases are studied: the employment system of artists and technical workers in the performing arts and the work of independent contractors mediated by umbrella firms. An analysis of the French labor market shows how “flexicurity” may work, but also how its books may get unbalanced, as employers learn to make strategic use of unemployment insurance.

Open access
From the Periphery to the International Scene. Artistic Trajectories in the Trial of Mobility

Abstract

Geographical mobility has become a norm of contemporary art. This article examines the spatial dynamics of artists as they face the challenges presented by peripheral territory in visual arts, putting their mobility and flexibility to the test. Whether staying anchored in a geographical area or moving abroad depends on the dominant scheme within the world of art. The globalization of contemporary art promotes the formation and recognition of “hypermobile” artists, but it can also lead to local strategies of withdrawal.

Open access
Introduction: Artistic Work as a “Laboratory” of Labour Market Deregulation?
Open access