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Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics (Studies in Modernity and National Identity) Paperback – September 1, 2002
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"The most important contribution of White's study is found in its rich exploration of the daily lives, beliefs and attitudes, and aspirations of the citizens of the Umraniye district of Istanbul. White takes great care in carrying out this meticulous research and presents the reader a wonderful insight into these people's environment..An excellent analysis in cultural anthropolgy and sociology."―International Journal of Turkish Studies
"Anthropologist White has presented a gripping study of Islamization in contemporary Turkey. . . . With it's engaging style and fascinating people, conversation, and events, White's book will appeal to students and the educated public, as well as to those specifically interested in Turkey, Islam, politics, gender, and civil society."―Religious Studies Review
"Islamist Mobilization in Turkey offers a rich ethnographic study of the grassroots Islamist mobilization in urban Turkey."―H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences
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This book discusses the political movements inside of Turkey using "vernacular politics" as a term to denote how these movements do not fit into what would be considered normal categories when speaking of politics or civil society. The term is used to emphasize that this Islamist movement crosses normal lines. Groups like the Welfare party and its successor the Virtue party are not strictly political parties, but instead they are a hybridization of politics, civic organizations, foundations and community associations and groups. This is why the author suggests the need for the new term to denote this brand of politics.
What the author does well is to show just how amorphous this Islamist movement is. It is not a top down political party like we see in the West. The organization springs from the grassroots community and then finds its expression in the leadership. This amorphous structure is its strength as well as a potential weakness. Its strength lies in its ability to endure. Since the movement is not simply political, but instead has its roots in the community as well, this makes the movement impossible to stamp out, which is why the movement has been able to survive the government's banning of the political parties.Read more ›
Methodology: White's is very explicit about her methods: she tells us exactly what she did and how she did it. Anyone doing ethnography will find this book very helpful whether or not they care about Turkey, religion, of politics.
Unfortunately, I received the impression that the author was more interested in impressing me with her knowledge of big words and I found her writing style too pedantic where she never used a common word when an obscure, scholarly one was available. I am a relatively well educated individual with what I consider and above average vocabulary but I was only able to labor through portions of two chapters before I gave up. It is too bad the author adopted such a difficult to read writing style, as the topic of the book held great interest.