Kemalism and beyond

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Despite the ceaseless efforts of what its supporters name the “Atatürk Cumhuriyeti” (Atatürk Republic), Kemalism is seen by many as a discredited ideology and an oppressive political practice. This chapter explores the social history of Kemalism since 1923 and the background to its now decades-long crisis of legitimacy. It compares the orthodox narrative concerning the Kemalist project with its various deconstructive accounts, many of which zero in on the years after the First World War and the 1920s and 1930s as foundational in present-day conflicts. These orthodox and heterodox histories, allied to the interests of different groups, do politics by another means. The chapter then traces how the power struggle over Kemalism’s futures is developing. Rather than pontificate about what the state or civil society should do, it concludes by drawing attention to emerging lineaments of change in existing civil society and social conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook of contemporary Middle-Eastern and North African history
EditorsAmal Ghazal, Jens Hanssen
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780199672530
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2015

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks Online
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Atatürk
  • Kemalism
  • legitimacy
  • civil society
  • historiography
  • power struggle
  • state

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