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Workshop "Family and Religion/Secularity in Turkey and Germany"

Leipzig University, 25-26 January 2024  

KFG “Multiple Secularities”, Strohsackpassage, room 4.55,

Nikolaistr. 8-10, 04109 Leipzig and online via zoom


Marcus Dreßler (Leipzig University)

Tuğçe Özdemir (Leipzig University)


In Turkey, the question of religion and secularism has been contested since the beginning of the republic and is therefore politically very loaded. One domain, in which and through which this contestation is worked out is that of family. In the course of the republic, various socio-political actors from the far right to the far left, from the secularist towards Islamist camps, draw on more or less specific concepts of “family” as a means to express their political visions. Against the background of these public and political discourses and the policies that they produced, the first aim of our workshop is to investigate empirical data on how family is imagined and experienced by individuals and families within the fabrics of everyday life – with particular attention to the role of religion in the imaginations and experiences related to “family”. This includes the question of how questions of religion/piety intersect with sexuality, gender, class, ethnicity, and age. Whereas Turkish secularism and counter-discourses have produced strong binaries with regard to religion – i.e., secularity in terms of discursive practices of distinction – in everyday life contexts distinctions are much less clear, leaving much room for grey zones and ambivalences. Through the lens of “family”, we would like to explore this tension between public discourses and policies and everyday life experiences with regard to religion and secularity.

The second aim of the workshop is to compare the sociological data from Turkey on imaginations and experiences with regard to family and religion with data from research on family in Germany. The comparison with Germany is interesting since neither are religion and secularism very relevant and contested topics in public debates on German society, nor is there a similarly contested debate on family (by itself and in relation to religion).

The workshop will take place as a hybrid event.