Gender politics and education in the Gülen Movement

In Turkey, women’s involvement in the Gülen Movement (known to its adherents as Hizmet (Service)), a global religious movement, contributes to extending the gendered forms of conservative-modern discourses within the practices of everyday life by introducing a new form of Islamic activism. This chapter traces the gender and pedagogical discourses of the Gülen Movement, based on ethnographic analysis of data collected in one of the Movement’s high schools in a conservative, provincial city in western Turkey. The chapter takes a two-fold approach to understanding the community’s gender discourses: first looking at the role of a persuasive discourse known as ‘commending right and forbidding wrong’ (emr-i bi’l ma’rûf neyh-i ani’l münker), and then focusing on the institution of sisterhood, a pattern of familial relations that serves as a micro-mobilization unit for the Movement. This chapter concludes that these forms of unconventional, informal mobilization and networks empower female teachers with religious authority, leading to a particular form of gendered cultural habitus, and helping to bring stability in gender relations.
Citation Formats
D. Göktürk Ağın, Gender politics and education in the Gülen Movement. 2021.