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Reconstruction of female subjectivity in Turkey: neoconservatism and imam-hatip schools

Ataç, Alara
From feminist perspective, this thesis attempts to analyze how female subjectivity has been reconstructed through education of Imam-Hatip schools under the impacts of neoconservative ideology since 2002. It is critical to understand rising power of neoconservatism and its impacts on Turkish women, especially after the AKP came into power. The party has developed neoconservatism as new political ideology as counter to secular-Republican ideology, and launched the Islamization project. In this case, the party’s gender ideology forms the core of aimed transformation. They realized women’s importance in Islamization and conservatization of socio-political domains. Hence, the AKP started to form new ideal female subjectivity who would serve their ideological transformation with their religious-conservative culture, and reconstruct the constructed ideal women of Turkish Republic. These new ideal women are to be constructed through education of Imam-Hatip schools which are one of the most important ideological state apparatuses producing ideal religious citizens of the AKP. To understand this frame, this study employs feminist methodology and feminist standpoint. Besides secondary analysis, women’s experiences and thoughts are put at the center of research and accepted as indicators of social reality. To reach women’s experiences, in-depth interviews have been conducted with 22 women who were graduated from Imam-Hatip schools during the AKP rule. Their social and educational experiences and personal thoughts on womanhood are analyzed. In this context, this study reveals the nature and consequences of ideological reconstruction of female subjectivity through education of Imam-Hatip schools in accordance with the AKP’s Islamic-conservative priorities and interests