Oral poetry and weeping in the case of Dersimli women

Demir, Aylin
This thesis analyzes the issue of performing self in the genres of oral poetry and weeping, which are performed by Dersimli women in the course of their everyday life practices. This study focuses on the case of Dersim (Tunceli) which is located in the east part of Turkey where Zazaki-speaking and Kurdish-speaking Alevi people constitute the majority of the population. I deal with these performances as repetitive actions, occurring in the course of everyday life. I focus on the narratives in the songs and issues related to giving voice with respect to acceptability, respectability, and experience. The personal narratives or social issues presented with these genres include a range of topics like dissatisfaction about life, a deceased child, loneliness, poverty, forced migration from the villages in the mid 1990s, regret of a woman for her marriage and old love stories. I found that performing those genres as repetitive actions in the course of everyday life practices has an important role both in the construction and the positioning of self. This study deals with songs as processes rather than products. Finally, in these processes, performers express their experiences, emotions, and ideas which are not narrated or spoken, or have limited expression, in the social interaction of everyday life. Although weeping practices usually reproduce expected gender roles however, the saying/singing practices as a whole may create the possibility of agency and certain spaces for resistance and contribute to the visibility of women in the community.


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Citation Formats
A. Demir, “Oral poetry and weeping in the case of Dersimli women,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2010.