The Vicissitudes of Folk Narratives in Republican Turkey: The "People," National Pedagogy, and Grotesque Laughter

The article examines the attempts to modernize folk narratives in Turkey, with a special emphasis on the ones characterized by grotesque imagery, including shadow theatre and Keloglan tales. During the 1930s, the early Republican regime launched a project aimed at employing folk narratives in the service of its Kemalist national pedagogy. This study argues that the transposition of humorous folk narratives was bound to fail because of the incongruity between the "cheerful folk word" and the "dismal official word." The study also analyzes the later adaptations of Keloglan tales and transfigurations of Keloglan, and argues that they followed the early Republican project insofar as ideological discourses speak in and through them. It asserts that despite all attempts to suppress the grotesque elements of the folk tradition of laughter, these have permeated into modern popular culture.


Erdoğan, Necmi (2014-01-01)
Based on an analysis of the already transcribed karagoz "scenarios", this study argues that the Turkish shadow theatre is characterized by a grotesque imagery. Its principal stock character, Karagoz, is a fool hero who turns the world upside down and inside out in a grotesque manner. Karagoz is also marked by what Bakhtin calls "carnivalization of speech", i.e. freeing language from gloomy seriousness of the official culture and subverting truisms. The study also asserts that karagoz defies the commonplace ...
The theme of alienation in Turkish novels : the decade of the 1970s
Büker, Zeynep; Nalbantoğlu, H. Ünal; Department of Sociology (2005)
This thesis aims at explaining the forms and styles in which the phenomenon of alienation found expression in Turkish novels, particularly in the 1970s. For this purpose, three novels of the decade are chosen for in-depth analysis since they are considered to be most representative examples. It was important to question how these three novels have ascribed significance to the existing conditions of alienation. Therefore, the specific discussion of this thesis dwells on whether these novels offer any alterna...
The Turkish satiric comedies in the 1980s
Türker, Deniz; Erdoğan, Necmi; Department of Media and Cultural Studies (2006)
This thesis is an attempt to analyse the narrative structure of the Turkish satiric comedies that were produced in the 1980s. It focuses on the relation between the narrative structure of the satiric comedies and the socio-political atmosphere of the period. It argues that the satiric comedies aimed to criticize the new right policies and the social transformation in the 1980s through the opposition between the “honourable” hero on the one hand, and the “swindler” figure(s) or the “degenerated order” on the...
The functions of storytelling practices: current storytelling nights in İstanbu
İnam, Dilara; Zırh, Besim Can; Department of Sociology (2017)
The article studies current storytelling practices in Istanbul consisting of continuities and the change of the storytelling practices and thereby reflect a hybrid structure. This hybrid structure of the storytelling performances is evaluated under the discussion of context and text. In this discussion, the transmission of storytelling towards the market and consumption separates the text from its context. The paper defines and locates the current storytelling nights among these discussions. Focusing on the...
The making of world literature: Turkish fiction as a case study
Yıldız Bağçe, Hülya (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-12-01)
This study is an investigation of the conditions and contexts of translated fiction, especially Turkish fiction, in international publishing and literary circles. Based on current discussions on what constitutes "world literature" and interviews conducted with cultural intermediaries in the transnational publishing world, this article focuses on the factors influencing the production, circulation, and reception processes of transnational fiction in the global literary field. These factors include the proces...
Citation Formats
N. Erdoğan, “The Vicissitudes of Folk Narratives in Republican Turkey: The “People,” National Pedagogy, and Grotesque Laughter,” ARCHIV ORIENTALNI, pp. 31–52, 2015, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: