Areas of Interest
- politics of youth and culture
- anthropology of temporality
- religion and politics in contemporary Turkey
Politics of Youth Culturing in Contemporary Turkey
This is one of the two sub-projects under our wider research on “Piety and Secularity Contested: Family and Youth Politics in post-Kemalist ‘New Turkey’”. It examines the youth-oriented policies and discourses that characterise what we call the ‘post-Kemalist governmentality’ that has taken shape in Turkey over the past two decades under successive AKP governments, and how these policies and discourses resonate in the contexts of the everyday life-worlds of Turkish youth.
Turkey has gone through major political crises and transformations especially over the past decade, and more than half of its highly-polarised population is under 30 years old. This decade has seen the AKP’s forceful interventions into the fields of education and youth culturing, guided by its ambitious resolve to establish ‘cultural power.’ Its youth programme sets the terms for entitlement to legitimate political voice and cultural practice by mobilising certain notions of cultural authenticity and practices of piety with the ultimate aim of cultivating a collective generation made up of governable subjects.
This project aims for an empirically grounded analysis of the AKP’s youth-oriented policies and discourses with particular attention to how situated young people make sense of and relate to them. The following questions guide this research: How is AKP youth politics represented and negotiated in the public sphere? What can be said about the normative rationale behind this politics, and what kind of political subject does it aspire to form? How does it translate into policies, laws, and regulations from the national to the municipal level? Conversely, what are, from the perspective of NGOs engaged in the field, and of Turkish citizens of different milieus, central questions and problems concerning the domain of youth? How does the AKP slogan of ‘raising a pious generation’ resonate in the imaginations of Turkish citizens of various social and economic backgrounds?
Senior Researcher, Institute for the Study of Religions, Research Project "Piety and Secularity Contested: Family and Youth Politics in post-Kemalist 'New Turkey'" (Prof. Dr. Markus Dreßler), Leipzig University
PhD, Cultural Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA
M.A. Cultural Studies, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey
M.A. Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
- Özipek, Aydin. “Informal Education and Youth Culturing in Post-Gulenist Turkey.” Youth Politics in the Middle East and North Africa. POMEPS Studies 36, no. 4 (2019): 64–68.
- Özipek, Aydin. “Youth in Turkey’s 2015 Elections.” Middle East Report Online. 2015. www.merip.org/2015/06/youth-in-turkeys-2015-elections/
- Özipek, Aydin. The Gülen Movement: ‘Cultivating’ a Generation Through Education. Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010.