Nationalism and territoriality: the conception of homeland in the communities of Turkish origin in Bulgaria and the Netherlands

Şenses, Ahu
Territoriality has been a long neglected issue in international relations and nationalism studies. This thesis aims to draw attention to the significance of territorial relations in defining modes of human political organization and identity formation and to help establish linkages between international studies and the disciplines of geography and anthropology that problematize territoriality. It questions how territoriality can be conceptualized within the framework of particularly migrant and minority groups with hyphenated ethno-cultural identities and multiple territorial/homeland ties. In order to address this question, this thesis devises a three-layered model of territoriality. This model differentiates between the cultural, instrumental and normative aspects of territorial identification which denote the local, national and transnational levels of analysis respectively. The thesis applies this model to the communities of Turkish origin in Bulgaria and the Netherlands and attempts to reveal their peculiarities and commonalities with regard to their members’ territorial experiences and homeland attachments, basing its analysis on a field research that involves open-ended and in-depth interviews with selected community members. It argues that, despite certain differences between their territorial practices and perceptions, the members of these two communities cannot yet be claimed to have transcended their usually parochial ethno-cultural loyalties or to be moving towards a state in which their embeddedness in their original societies and national territories are being undermined by the allegedly deterritorializing and emancipatory effects of transnationalism. Ethno-cultural and national ties as embodied in homeland identification are still relevant for understanding the political allegiances and practices of individuals and collectivities.


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Citation Formats
A. Şenses, “Nationalism and territoriality: the conception of homeland in the communities of Turkish origin in Bulgaria and the Netherlands,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2014.