Contemporary Kemalism : From Universal Secular-Humanism to Extreme Turkish Nationalism book cover
1st Edition

Contemporary Kemalism
From Universal Secular-Humanism to Extreme Turkish Nationalism

ISBN 9780415728171
Published February 11, 2014 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

The nature and content of Kemalist ideology in Turkey during the last twenty years is analysed in this book. In order to place the current manifestations of this Turkish official modernising ideology in the two-part context of globalisation and the re-sacralisation of the world, Contemporary Kemalism scrutinises the texts of five prominent Kemalist intellectuals.

After defining the unquestioned ideological premises of Kemalism, such as its implied liberal philosophy of history, and its idea about human nature, the book describes Kemalism’s vision of the ideal society. Kemalism’s close relationship to social democracy and neo-nationalism is then discussed in detail. Also included is an analysis of contemporary Kemalism’s relation to earlier Kemalist articulations. The study demonstrates that various previous assumptions, both Western and Turkish, concerning Kemalism’s nature and content are too simplistic, and thus unable to account for the endurance of this ideology and its continuing relevancy in present-day Turkey.

Inviting the reader to contemplate contemporary Kemalism’s ambiguous relationship with the Western world, this book will be of value to scholars and researchers with an interest in Middle Eastern Politics, Modernization Theory and Political Ideology.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1 Outlining the Origins and Suggested Meanings of Kemalism 2 The Presuppositions of Contemporary Kemalism 4 The Kemalist Vision of the Ideal Socio-Political Order 5 Contemporary Kemalism and its Affinities: Social Democracy and Neo-Nationalism 6 the Morphology of Contemporary Kemalism 7 Contemporary Kemalism, Contemporary World

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Toni Alaranta received his Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of Helsinki. Currently a research fellow at the University of Tallinn, his main field of interest is Turkish political history. Previous publications include, Kemalism, enlightenment and legitimacy: the reproduction of secularist-national ideology in Turkey, 1930–1980 (2011).


The book is a welcome contribution to the study of ideology, political debates in Turkey, nationalism, and secularism. With its depth and critical narrative, it would be of interest to general or specialized readers who want to understand the foundations and impact of Kemalist ideology. - S. Tepe, University of Illinois at Chicago