Dissertation Abstracts

Changing Discourse on Women and Islam in Turkey in Ethnographic Studies

Author: Petek Onur, petekonur@yahoo.com.tr
Department: Sociology
University: Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ayse Saktanber
Year of completion: 2016
Language of dissertation: Turkey

Keywords: women , Islam , discourse , Turkey
Areas of Research: Women in Society , Religion , Conceptual and Terminological Analysis


This thesis provides an analysis of the change of ethnographic discourse on women and Islam in Turkey. Based on the theoretical framework of feminist postcolonial theory it analyses the ethnographic studies as texts and focuses on the concepts of subjectivity, subalternnes, otherness, and agency in Muslim women's discursive representations and binarism, Eurocentricism, essentialism in the way discourse is produced. It adopts Michel Foucault’s theorization of discourse, knowledge and power as a methodology to present the power relations embedded in the knowledge production process. My analysis takes the social, cultural and political developments in global and Turkish contexts and the paradigm shifts in the feminist postcolonial theory and Middle Eastern women's studies as structural powers that act on knowledge production. With this analyses I present the influence of these powers and also the pathways of development of a counter-knowledge against the formerly dominant Orientalist and Eurocentric ways of knowledge production. Lastly, by providing a general picture of the ethnographic discourse on women and Islam in Turkey, I present the gaps and shortcomings of the discourse and new areas and issues that need to be addressed in the future.

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