Wednesday Talks-18: "The Role of Islamic and Secular Ideologies in the Representations of Kurds in the Production of Television News in Turkey”

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Date: December 9, 2015
Time: 17.30
Place: santralistanbul Campus, E2-302

Speaker: Ozan Aşık

Wednesday Talks are organized by İstanbul Bilgi University Department of Sociology.

The language of the seminar is Turkish.

"There is a vast literature on the ways in which journalists frame national communities in news reporting. What has not been researched much is the construction process of the images of those national communities prior to the appearance of the end-product on the screen. In this presentation, I discuss how news practitioners identify and categorise the Kurds in the news production process. This study is based on an ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2011-2012 in the newsrooms of two Turkish mainstream television stations – what I call ‘Secularbiz’ (widely recognised as a major secular channel which sometimes opposes the current AKP government) and ‘Islamicbiz’ (widely recognised as Islamic and as a hard-line AKP supporter). My preliminary findings demonstrate that both newsrooms are likely to challenge Turkey’s traditional nationalist and militarist news discourse on Kurds, but journalists’ competing secular and Islamist ideologies are projected into their representation of Kurds in news production. The ideological divergence in representational practices is symptomatic of the way that the polarisation of social and political life in Turkey along the secular–Islamic axis impinges upon journalists. Employing the Mannheim’s definition of ideology, I argue that the ways in which journalists identify the Kurds is shaped by the way they purposefully categorise the social world and imagine the political possibilities within it for a future social order. "

Ozan Aşık:
Ozan Aşık holds BA in Sociology from Ege University. He completed his MSc in Middle East Studies at Middle East Technical University. For his Master’s thesis, he worked on the contesting religious educational discourses and institutions in Egypt. During his fieldwork in Cairo (April-June 2005), he was affiliated with the Department of Political Science at The American University in Cairo. He is currently about to finish his PhD in Sociology at The University of Cambridge. His research focuses on television journalists in Turkish mainstream news media and how they imagine, define and categorise the Kurds and Arabs –Turkey’s two significant national ‘Others’– in the news production process. His fields of interest are sociology of the media, anthropology of news, journalism, ethnography, Islam, nationalism, and history of the modern Middle East (particularly Turkey and Egypt).