International Journal of Middle East Studies

Articles

STATE BUILDING AND THE LIMITS OF LEGIBILITY: KINSHIP NETWORKS AND KURDISH RESISTANCE IN TURKEY

Ceren Belge c1

Abstract

Following the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the twin goals of centralizing state power and inscribing a uniform national identity on all citizens resulted in the proliferation of disciplinary practices that required changes in habits and everyday life as well as in the locus of faith, allegiance, and obedience. Nowhere were the repercussions felt as deeply as in the Kurdish regions, where the urge to create a new citizen sparked considerable resistance. This article suggests that alongside Kurdish nationalist movements, kinship networks and morality constituted an alternative reservoir of resistance to the new disciplinary practices that followed state building. By subverting state practices to make citizens legible, kinship networks, I argue, undermined the state's attempts to establish bureaucratic authority and create an exclusive identity.

(Online publication January 24 2011)

Correspondence

c1 Ceren Belge is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada; e-mail: cbelge@alcor.concordia.ca

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