Dr Ayse Cavdar

Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Research Project at the Centre

Political Anthropology of Religiosity in 'New Turkey'

My project aims to develop a bottom-up approach to explore the mutual transformations of secularism, political Islam, and religiosity in Turkey during the last two decades. I focus on the various reflections of the power struggle between the secularist and Islamist political actors over the everyday lives of pious Muslims. Using a large ethnographic data, I analyze the transformation of piety and religious identity within the contemporary conditions of the political and economic engagement. I claim that secular modernity has an impact on not only the survival tactics and strategies of religions and religious identities but also the social and epistemological content of these 'modes of being'. During their histories, religions and non-secular 'modes of being' learned a lot from each other and reformed/transformed themselves along with the consequences of their battles. However, within the history of modernity, they had another 'rival': secularism, a concept and 'mode of being' that merely suggests being indifferent to the religious identities in the worldly affairs. Following this primary assumption in the theoretical framework of this research, I argue that it is possible to explain the dynamics of 'post-secular turn' via examining the antagonistic pedagogy between religion(s) and secular modernity and I suggest Turkey as a case study for such an examination.


January – December 2017