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Multifaceted experiences of Turkishness: a grounded theory approach to belongingsof Arabs, Kurds, and Syriacs

Bal, Özgür
This dissertation addresses the processes of formation/deformation of national belonging in Turkey, concerning the experiences of Arab, Kurd, and Syriac peoples in Mardin, Diyarbakır, and Urfa. The purpose is to understand if, when, how, and with what consequences do they relate to Turkishness and to explain how their belongings and subjectivities were formed within this context. The research method is grounded theory aiming at theory-building. Belonging itself emerged as a complex, multiple, and multidimensional process in the research findings with positional, emotional, and economic aspects being definitive to it. Findings were grounded in the participants’ experiences, practices, and perceptions. The conclusive argument is that there are basically three social-historical processes, interplay of which play constitutive role in making and unmaking of belongings for the participants of this research. These are violation, access to and mobilization of social relations to one’s good, and inclusion/exclusion in the running economic system. The variation in the experiences of these processes and how they interacted for each participant and each named group were defining in the consequent variation of belongings and subjectivities that are formed. Turkishness emerged to be a multifaceted experience that had three constitutive pillars, which were namely the state, Turks, and home/land. In conclusion, grounded in the research findings conceptualizations of Vionation, Cautionation, Modernation, and Localinationwere proposed to stand for the four fundamental forms that ‘nation’ forms in the experiences of the participants. These basically referred to formation of Turkishness through processes of violation, caution, modernization, and localization.