Synopses & Reviews
In this new interpretation of the modernization and secularization of Turkey, Andrew Davison demonstrates the usefulness of hermeneutics in political analysis. A hermeneutic approach, he argues, illuminates the complex relations between religion and polities in post-Ottoman Turkey and, more broadly, between politics and matters of culture, tradition, national identity, and conscience in the modern world.
Led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a modernist Turkish elite in the 1920s wrested political power from an empire in which Islam had exercised great political, social, and cultural power. Ataturk instituted policies designed to end Islamic power by secularizing politics and the state. Through the lens of hermeneutics, this book examines the ideas and policies of the secularizers and those who contested the process. Davison reinterprets the founding principles and practices of a modern, secular Turkey and closely reexamines the crucial ideas of the Turkish nationalist thinker Ziya Gokalp.