Focusing on three important interrelated issues, Women and Civil Society in Turkey challenges the classical definition, developed in the West, of civil society as an equivalent of the public sphere in which women are excluded. First it shows how feminist movements have developed a new definition of civil society to include women. Second it draws attention to the role of women in the modernization of Turkey with special reference to the debate on the possibility of an indigenous feminist movement. Finally, it underlines the contribution of feminist, Islamic and Kurdish women’s movements in the transition from an ideologically constructed, uniform public sphere to a multi-public domain. Giving attention to the influence of diverse women’s movements over Turkish political values this book sheds light into the issue of how a feminine civil society has been constructed as part of a plural public space in Turkey. Ã–mer Ã‡aha argues that this new public realm is the product of values and institutions which have been developed by diverse women’s groups who have succeeded in eliminating the traditional barricades between public and domestic spheres and in steering women into public life without sacrificing their own values.
Ã–mer Ã‡aha is Professor of Political Science at Yildiz Technical University, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Istanbul, Turkey. He is interested in such issues as democratization, civil society, political behaviors, social movements and women’s movements.
’A timely book on a highly important topic. Ã‡aha discusses three branches of feminism in Turkey during the last thirty years: the liberal branch, the Islamic feminist movement, and the Kurdish women's groups. Although a meticulous scholar, the author is not just a neutral analyst but an engaged writer deeply committed to a social vision where women are given their rightful place.’ Fred Dallmayr, University of Notre Dame, USA '... feminist critiques argued that the making of science is a heterogeneous process where many subjective factors, like the gender and the gendered worldview of the researcher, are involved. The author seems to present a study in the book where his gender is minimized. In this regard, first and by foremost, through the perspective of women’s emancipation, feminist research, feminist methodology, etc., the book can be considered to be a successful example of a study on women by a male researcher. ... The book, written by Omar Catha who is a professor of political science and who has been working on women’s issues and women’s movement for many years, is an in-depth summary of the development of the civil society in Turkey and the role that women’s organizations and feminist movements played in this growing civil sphere. Students of political science, women’s studies and sociology might specifically benefit from the book.' e-International Relations 'The author’s well-studied and well-nuanced work quite successfully presents a picture of the feminist movement in Turkey. ... I would recommend this book to all scholars and students of feminism and civil society. More specifically, anyone with an interest in Turkish society, culture, and history would find this book useful in expanding their horizons.' Middle East Media & Book Reviews 'Women and Civil Society in Turkey: Women’s Movements in a Muslim Society offers a significant contribution to studies which link civil society debates with women’s issues through its focus on wom