Nursem Keskin Aksay (Alumna BGSMCS)
Religion, Class, Gender: The Emergence of "Islamic Bourgeoisie" and Middle Class Muslim Women.
This study examines the relation between the representation on the emergence of “Islamic bourgeoisie” and religious middle class in Turkey and the varying experiences of “Muslim Women” with headscarves within the recent transformations in Turkey. This relation is significant because it gives the possibility to reexamine the “classless” representation of women while challenging the tendency of studying “Muslim women” as a “homogenous” category. But it also creates a productive area in terms of creating new conceptualizations and subjectivities about class, gender and Islam. Gender and class are historical constructions that the experiences and practices would vary depending on historical, social, cultural and economic contexts. Regarding the history of exclusion for the Muslim women with headscarves in Turkey at least from specific spheres (workplaces, universities etc.) in a tension with “secular” rules, the rise in public visibility designates a new question of inclusion and exclusion strategies and an “Islamic” movement. My main goal is to illustrate the everyday practices and experiences of Muslim women through their represented class subjectivities, which are vital mediators in the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion into the public sphere in Turkey. As an ethnographic approach for realizing this study, I plan to make in-depth interviews, attend the women’s group organizations like religious meetings, weddings, family meetings and observe their workplaces as participant observer in four sites in Istanbul; “conservative” women Journals Ala and Aysha, “Islamic” gated community “Yeşil Vadi”, women association of AKP (Development and Justice Party) government and Şehir University which is recently argued as a “conservative” university model with a relation to government.
In conclusion, I expect to find how a new class of "Muslim" bourgeoisie and middle class are recently constructed in Turkey through differential gender relations, Islamic practices and class habits and how new subjectivities, gendered relations and Islamic lifestyles born during this process.
First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Schirin Amir-Moazami
Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Cilja Harders