Secularization in non-western contexts
Bound Together takes a new look at twentieth-century Turkey, asking what it will take for Turkish women and men to regain their lost freedoms, and what the Turkish case means for the prospects of freedom and democracy elsewhere. Contrasting the country’s field of poetry, where secularization was the joint work of pious and nonpious people, with that of the novel, this book inquires into the nature of western-nonwestern difference.
Turkey’s poets were more fortunate than its novelists for two reasons. Poets were slightly better at developing the idea of the autonomy of art from politics. While piety was a marker of political identity everywhere, poets were better able than novelists to bracket political differences when assessing their peers as the country was bitterly polarized politically and as the century wore on. Second, and more important, poets of all stripes were more connected to each other than were novelists. Their greater ability to find and keep one another in coffeehouses and literary journals made it less likely for prospective cross-aisle partnerships to remain untested propositions.
Barış Büyükokutan is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Koç University
“Barış Büyükokutan’s incisive study of how Turkey’s literary fields mediated between everyday life and high politics focuses on a heretofore unnoticed factor shaping secularization—interaction dynamics—while providing a strikingly original synthesis of field theory, social networks, and civic spheres.”
—Ronald Breiger, Regents Professor, University of Arizona- Ronald Breiger
“. . . highly original and stimulating. Bound Together argues that the secular can arise in non-Western contexts, opposing a broad literature. It therefore also promotes a novel conceptualization of west/non-west difference.”
—Elise Massicard, Research Professor, National Center for Scientific Research, Paris- Elise Massicard
“In this sophisticated and original work, Bariş Buyükokutan reorients debates about secularization and Western exceptionalism. By revealing how local interactions within civil society can facilitate connections across seemingly intractable differences, Bound Together points toward new potential solutions to ‘civilizational’ conflict and conflict across the religious-secular divide.”
—Damon Mayrl, Colby College- Damon Mayrl