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2- Politics of Legitimacy Through Popular Song - Nil Basdurak, University of Toronto

4:00 PM, Saturday 25 May 2019 (2 hours)
Guided tour "Montréal in jazz"   06:00 PM to 08:00 PM (2 hours)
In December 1997, during a meeting with the Association of Muslim Business Leaders in the city of Siirt in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then mayor of Istanbul, recited a poem attributed to Ziya Gökalp, the founder of Turkish nationalism, who had defined Turkishness based on the unity of language, religion, and ethnicity. This recitation brought forth criticisms against Erdoğan accusing him of polarizing the society based on the tensions between secularist and Islamist segments of Turkey and provocation through religious and ethnic discrimination and eventually caused his imprisonment. However, Erdoğan and the party he represented (AKP) came into power in 2002, and have been in power since then. In 2014, this poem was set to music as a ‘popular song’ by an Islamist musician Eşref Ziya. In this paper, drawing from theorization of cultural politics of legitimacy (Hefner ed. 2005), I examine the ways that the AKP and Erdoğan have utilized this popular song through producing “orchestrated enactments” (Butler 2015) as a means of propaganda and a rhetorical strategy, particularly during the state-sponsored pro-democracy meetings and rallies held after the failed military coup attempt in July 2016. I argue that this popular song affectively heightened the antagonism in the society based on binary oppositions—mainly Islamism vs. secularism—to manage, produce and reproduce deliberative notions of democracy in an attempt to consolidate governmental power during a time of crisis.
University of Toronto
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