Turkey: Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration

By Sayari, Sabri | The Middle East Journal, Winter 2001 | Go to article overview

Turkey: Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration


Sayari, Sabri, The Middle East Journal


Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration, by Andrew Davison. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998. viii + 196 pages. Append. to p. 203. Notes to p. 242. Bibl. to p. 264. Index to p. 270. $37.50.

Reviewed by Sabri Sayari

Andrew Davison's Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey seeks to provide a reassessment and reinterpretation of the policies that were initiated by Kemal Ataturk during the 1920s and 1930s concerning the role of Islam in Turkish politics and society, and their implications for the evolution of state-society relations in later years. Davison believes that studies on the subject by "anglophone political scientists" do not offer a full understanding of the real meaning and objectives of these policies because of their "secular modern prejudices." The author proposes to use an alternative approach grounded in hermeneutic political inquiry whose task is "to grasp the meanings that constitute the features of political life-that is, political action, relations, practices, and institutions" (p. 3). The book is not intended as an analysis of the political, social, and economic context of the reassertion of Islam in Turkish politics and society since the transition to a democratic system after the Second World War. Rather, it is an attempt to reassess the different interpretations of the original intent and meaning of Ataturk's policies and the intellectual debates surrounding the relations between state and religion in modern Turkey through a close rereading of the relevant texts and literature on the subject matter.

The first two chapters of Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey are devoted to a discussion of the conceptual and methodological questions concerning modernity and the nature of interpretive political inquiry in the hermeneutics tradition. In his chapter on the interpretations of modernity, the author goes over some of the familiar territory concerning the shortcomings of the early modernization theories that tended to view modernity and tradition as polar opposites. Davison emphasizes the need to accept the existence of "multiple modernities" and to see the revivalists as "participants in the contest of modernity, and not simply relics from the past" (p. 46). In the next chapter, the author provides a detailed discussion of the intellectual context of interpretive political analysis, with special emphasis on Hans-Georg Gadamer's work on the concept of prejudice.

It is only in the second half of Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey that Davison gets into the specifics of the Turkish case. He does it, first, by reexamining the political and sociological thought of, Ziya Gokalp, whose ideas on culture, identity, religion, and nationalism had a profound impact in shaping the ideological orientation of the Kemalist one-party regime. Davison maintains that Gokalp's thinking on religion and its role in society was not adequately understood either by the Kemalists or social scientists who sought to interpret his views. After critically analyzing Gokalp's own writings, as well as the two major works on him by Uriel Heyd and Taha Parla, Davison proposes an alternative interpretation of his outlook on religion and secularization. The author maintains that, as a disciple of sociologist Emile Durkheim, Go"kalp was fully cognizant of the functional role and vitality of religion in society. At the same time, Gokalp also believed in the complete separation of the political and religious spheres in the newly-established Republic. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Turkey: Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.