The Sociological Foundations of Turkish Nationalism
Posted: 09 Oct 2017

New article by Turkay Nefes 'The Sociological Foundations of Turkish Nationalism' in the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies.


Although Ziya Gökalp was one of the most important intellectuals to shape Turkish nationalism, scholarship has not systematically examined the links between his sociological perspective and nationalism. This study shows how Gökalp’s culture‒civilization theory, predominantly adapted from Emile Durkheim’s sociological perspective, provides a basis for his Turkish nationalism. Gökalp developed two central premises in line with Durkheimian sociology: (a) civilization is dependent on cultural unity; and (b) religion is the root of culture. Via the culture‒civilization duality, Gökalp constructed a Turkish nationalism that excluded non-Muslim and non-Sunni minorities. This article not only provides a comprehensive account of the roots of Turkish nationalism but also posits a fresh perspective on Gökalp’s trinity of Turkification, Islamization and modernization. In so doing, it underlines Durkheim’s indirect impact on the foundations of Turkish nationalism.

Further information

Turkay Salim Nefes, Associate Member