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Debating Islamism, modernity and the West in Turkey. The role of the Welfare Party

By Cengiz Dinc


This study focuses on the Welfare Party elite's conceptualisation of modernity\ud during the party's last 4-5 years before its closure in 1998. Since the party was the most\ud important Islamist organisation in Turkey. it was at an important point of interaction\ud between Islamism and modernity. The study tries to determine the significance of the WP\ud discourse on key modernisation issues by answering such questions as how the WP elite\ud conceptualised modernity; how this conceptualisation was formulated, constructed and\ud what was modernity's relationship with the West in their view. It argues that, the WP elite\ud had a distinct (Islamist) understanding of modernity which, despite its differences in its\ud approach to some basic issues (e. g. secularism) overall remained within modernity by\ud sharing most of its major characteristics. The WP elite, similar to many other Islamist\ud movements, advocated a more Islamic (less secular and less Westernising) route to\ud modernity; and they could not be considered as anti-modernists.\ud The study contributes towards a better understanding of the critical role that a\ud version of Islamism plays in Turkey's politics and process of modernisation and provides\ud insights about the impact of Western modernity on the sizeable Islamist section. The study\ud employs important concepts such as secularisation, nationalism, the modern state,\ud economic development (science, technology, industrialisation), capitalism and democracy\ud as important components of modernity. (It also provides a general analysis of Islamism in\ud the Middle East vis-ä-vis modernity through these concepts). An analysis of the views of\ud the WP elite with regard to these concepts and processes serves to better understanding the\ud Islamist stance towards the particular path of modernisation in Turkey, modernity in\ud general, and also the West.Osmangazi University, TurkeyAdditional content files accompanying this thesis are not available on Bradford Scholars, but are available from the British Library Ethos Service:

Topics: Turkey; Welfare party; Islamism; Modernity; Modernisation; West
Publisher: Department of Languages and European Studies
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Bradford Scholars
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