9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN02 Sociology of the Arts

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Arts and the Shapping of Identities Building II, C6.08

The "Europeanization" of Cultural Policy in Modern Turkey: An Historical and Anthropological Approach

This paper is an historical, cultural, and anthropological study of the governance of cultural institutions in modern Turkey within the framework of the EU-Turkey relations. In this context, my proposed project focuses on the relationship between the EUropeanization of cultural policies and state formation in Turkey in general, and on the Turkish cultural industry in particular.

Turkey's membership in the EU has been a contested issue since 1963. The conditions of becoming a member-state as set by the EU constitute a framework which requires changes and adaptations on several critical political, legal, economic, and social spheres in contemporary Turkey. While such spheres of negotiations have become a litmus test for Turkey's European compatibility, the cultural differences between Turkey and the EU member-states, Turkey's historical and cultural heritage as well as the discussions around the European identity all point to the cultural dimension as an equally significant factor that could help (or hinder) Turkey's possible membership. Thus, my paper's aim to examine the cultural dimension of Turkey's membership bid comes to the fore as an attempt to explore this unique phenomenon through the lens of cultural policy analysis. The larger question my paper deals with at the national and supra-national level is how cultural policy is employed as an instrument for nation-states to achieve domestic and foreign political goals. In this context, I seek to investigate how "EUropeanization" of cultural policy 1) transforms the cultural industry in Turkey, 2) opens up possibilities to explore the importance and role of the nation-state in the historical evolution of cultural policy. At the national level, I plan to carry out an inquiry through two major domains in the cultural industry: Museums as permanent component of cultural heritage industry and the European Capital of Culture: Istanbul 2010, as a one-time "cultural project," that will bring the "European turn" to Istanbul and create an international awareness of Turkey's integration into Europe. In this vein, these two cultural venues appear to be of great importance in Turkey's EU integration process, especially in the field of cultural policy.