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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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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Jenny White's book is a timely contribution to our understanding of the recent success of the Justice and Development Party in Turkey's parliamentary elections. The book provides fresh insights into the resilience of Islamic activism in Turkey, despite the government's continuous efforts to suppress it and to ban the political parties inspired by this movement . . . . [White] grounds her analysis in rich ethnography that brings to life her informants and their daily struggles."―Middle East Journal

"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

About the Author

Jenny B. White is associate professor of anthropology at Boston University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Modernity and National Identity
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295982918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295982915
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,361,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew Smith on April 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an important book for anyone interested in Turkey or the Islamist movement in general. Turkey is one of the most important nations in the world today as it stands with one foot in Europe and the other in the Middle East, and it also stands as a potential bellwether state for whether or not the Islamist movement can integrate successfully into a representative political system. Jenny White's research goes a long way in providing readers with a glimpse into how this country, as well as the various movements within it, operates.

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.
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By Barry on February 17, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Content: This should be on the shelf of everyone involved in political activism. Also, anyone interested in the role of religion in politics in general, and the politics of the Islamic world specifically.

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.
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I am very interested in understanding the current political movement in Turkey where there is an apparent resurgence in the Islamist parties and a shift from secular to Islamic law. It is difficult for me to understand why the females in Turkish society are interested in moving from secular to Sharia law and I was hoping that this book would provide me with the perspective I wanted. For a woman in any country to voluntarily move into a society living under Sharia law, there has to be some personal gain perceived and I want to understand what that gain is.

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.
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By gld_9 on April 27, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best ethnographic studies of Muslim politics.
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By S. Mehl on September 18, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
She is a very thorough author
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