Nation-building among five rings: Nationalism and Olympics in early republican Turkey

Yavuz, Yavuz
The main objective of this research is to explore the role of international sports during the nation-building process of the early years of Republican Turkey. Sports, due to their competitive and emotive characteristics, provide suitable platforms for the revealing of nationalist sentiments. While sport is a modern construct, it is possible to trace references to pre-modern leisure activities in terms of the creation of narratives around sports. International sports events establish spaces of encounter for different identities and therefore, they are important subjects of analysis in terms of the imagination and reimagination of national identities. In other words, it is possible to trace the dialogical formation of national identity within the context of international sports events, as they help creating such sporting narratives. Republican Turkey made extensive use of international sports contacts in its early years, which served to create nationalist aspirations around them. This study examines the relationship between the formation of the Turkish national identity and the international sporting contacts within the context of the Olympic Games. By looking at the first Olympic Games that Turkey took part in during the years from 1923 to 1950, this research aims to uncover how they were integrated into the nation-building process, through the lenses of nationalism theories.


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Citation Formats
Y. Yavuz, “Nation-building among five rings: Nationalism and Olympics in early republican Turkey,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2021.