Singing Turkish, Performing Turkishness: Message and Audience in the Song Competition of the International Turkish Olympiad

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/556223
Title:
Singing Turkish, Performing Turkishness: Message and Audience in the Song Competition of the International Turkish Olympiad
Author:
Wulfsberg, Joanna Christine
Issue Date:
2015
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Turkey's most controversial religious figure is the Muslim cleric and author Fethullah Gülen, whose followers have established around one thousand schools in 135 countries. Since 2003, the Gülen-affiliated educational non-profit TÜRKÇEDER has organized the International Turkish Olympiad, a competition for children enrolled in the Gülen schools. The showpiece of this event is its song contest, in which students perform well-known Turkish songs before live audiences of thousands in cities all over Turkey and reach millions more via television broadcasts and the Internet. While the contest resembles American Idol in its focus on individual singers and Eurovision in its nationalistic overtones, the fact that the singers are performing songs associated with a nationality not their own raises intriguing questions about the intended message of the competition as well as about its publics. To answer these questions, I analyzed YouTube videos of the competition and examined YouTube comments, popular websites, and newspaper opinion columns. I conclude that the performers themselves are meant to feel an affinity with Turkish culture and values, while Turkish audiences receive a demonstration that Gülen's brand of Islam is compatible with Turkish nationalism. Moreover, the competition reaches a multiplicity of publics both within and beyond Turkey. While some of these can be characterized as essentially oppositional counterpublics, I find that, in the case of the Turkish Olympiad, the dichotomy between rational public and emotional or irrational counterpublic established collectively by such theorists of publics as Jürgen Habermas and Michael Warner begins to break down.
Type:
text; Electronic Thesis
Keywords:
Gülen movement; publics; song competitions; Turkey; Turkish schools; Middle Eastern & North African Studies; counterpublics
Degree Name:
M.A.
Degree Level:
masters
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Middle Eastern & North African Studies
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Newhall, Amy; Betteridge, Anne

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleSinging Turkish, Performing Turkishness: Message and Audience in the Song Competition of the International Turkish Olympiaden_US
dc.creatorWulfsberg, Joanna Christineen
dc.contributor.authorWulfsberg, Joanna Christineen
dc.date.issued2015en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.description.abstractTurkey's most controversial religious figure is the Muslim cleric and author Fethullah Gülen, whose followers have established around one thousand schools in 135 countries. Since 2003, the Gülen-affiliated educational non-profit TÜRKÇEDER has organized the International Turkish Olympiad, a competition for children enrolled in the Gülen schools. The showpiece of this event is its song contest, in which students perform well-known Turkish songs before live audiences of thousands in cities all over Turkey and reach millions more via television broadcasts and the Internet. While the contest resembles American Idol in its focus on individual singers and Eurovision in its nationalistic overtones, the fact that the singers are performing songs associated with a nationality not their own raises intriguing questions about the intended message of the competition as well as about its publics. To answer these questions, I analyzed YouTube videos of the competition and examined YouTube comments, popular websites, and newspaper opinion columns. I conclude that the performers themselves are meant to feel an affinity with Turkish culture and values, while Turkish audiences receive a demonstration that Gülen's brand of Islam is compatible with Turkish nationalism. Moreover, the competition reaches a multiplicity of publics both within and beyond Turkey. While some of these can be characterized as essentially oppositional counterpublics, I find that, in the case of the Turkish Olympiad, the dichotomy between rational public and emotional or irrational counterpublic established collectively by such theorists of publics as Jürgen Habermas and Michael Warner begins to break down.en
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Thesisen
dc.subjectGülen movementen
dc.subjectpublicsen
dc.subjectsong competitionsen
dc.subjectTurkeyen
dc.subjectTurkish schoolsen
dc.subjectMiddle Eastern & North African Studiesen
dc.subjectcounterpublicsen
thesis.degree.nameM.A.en
thesis.degree.levelmastersen
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineMiddle Eastern & North African Studiesen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
dc.contributor.advisorNewhall, Amyen
dc.contributor.advisorBetteridge, Anneen
dc.contributor.committeememberNewhall, Amyen
dc.contributor.committeememberBetteridge, Anneen
dc.contributor.committeememberSturman, Janeten
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