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RECONCILING RELIGION AND NATIONALISM: The Nur Movement in Modern Turkey (2002-2018)

SACMALI, AHMET,ABDULLAH (2019) RECONCILING RELIGION AND NATIONALISM: The Nur Movement in Modern Turkey (2002-2018). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Nur movement has been one of the most influential socio-religious dynamics of the modern Turkey. It emerged during the formation years of the Turkish Republic, under the guidance and leadership of Said Nursi, a renowned Kurdish Muslim scholar and spread across the country in a short amount of time. The movement continues to be influential at grassroots level in contemporary Turkey. It is a faith-based movement aiming at strengthening the beliefs of Muslims in the face of secularization as a robust and global transformation. This created a deep tension with the Kemalist state whose main objective was the modernization of society by means of state power and violence. Although Nurcus and secular Kemalists diverge from each other regarding the place of religion in life, Nurcus adopted nationalism with ease which was also one of the pillars of the Kemalist doctrine; leading to twofold tensions: (1) sacred vs. secular, (2) universal vs. particular. Nationalism is mainly secular and particularist whereas religion of Islam is obviously sacred, and its teachings are chiefly universalist and egalitarian. This thesis basically asks how this juxtaposition becomes possible and aims at explaining how Nurcus alleviate the tension between these opposing ideational positions. In pursuit of these questions, Anthony Smith’s theoretical framework, so-called ‘sacred foundations of nationalism’ is critically employed, however, an original approach has been developed which has a better explanatory capacity as to Nurcu case in Turkey. Based on the analysis of both online and fieldwork data including in-depth interviews with the members of the movement, it is concluded that Nurcus can be placed under the rubric of ‘nationalist religious’ as religion precedes and overrides nationalism in their identity.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:religion, islam, nationalism, religious nationalism, secularization, modernization, modern turkey, nur movement, said nursi, kemalism
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:22 Jun 2020 14:01

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