A feminist analysis of the gender dynamics in the Alevi Belief and Cem Rituals

Eruçar, Şengül
This thesis aims to analyze the gender dynamics in the Alevi belief and the ‘Cem’ rituals by focusing on the gap and tension between the discourse of equality and practices of the rituals. Within the framework of a theoretical approach which underlines the evolution of monotheistic religions along a patriarchal line of development and the resultant subordination of women particularly in the rituals, the approach and the discourse of the Alevi belief on women is overviewed. In this study, ‘cem’ ceremonies of the selected Alevi communities in Istanbul and Isparta are analyzed empirically. It is contended that while there are significant differences in terms of gender dynamics and women’s position between the observed cems, in general the gender equality principle of the belief is not fully realized. It is contended that the gender issue and women’s position vis-a-vis men constitute a major site of the constitution of the Alevi identity in the Turkish society. However, although patriarchal practices and premises have permeated the ritual dynamics of the Alevis, they are also subject to ongoing negotiations, legitimizations and interpretations by male and female actors of the community


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Citation Formats
Ş. Eruçar, “A feminist analysis of the gender dynamics in the Alevi Belief and Cem Rituals,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2010.