14 Jun 2007 - 15 Jun 2007 All day CRASSH


It is all too commonplace in social and political theory to treat countries, regions or nations merely as cases of more general processes or dynamics: for example, of globalisation, fascism, liberal democracy, nationalism. Anthropologists and historians have tended to be critical of such an approach to empirical materials, drawing attention to the specifics of culture and history and the multiplicity of forces which come together in particular localities and events.

In recent years the terms of this opposition between social theory and empirical description have been increasingly challenged. Research in anthropology and the history and sociology of science has shown how theoretical insight derives from an attention to the specificity of the case. The case is no longer understood as an illustration of a more general process, nor merely unique, but of broader importance precisely on account of its specificity.

The aim of this workshop is to think through Turkey in these terms. What theoreticl insights do studies of Turkey generate rather than merely illustrate? The workshop will focus on politics. The argument, unlike the classical anthropological twist, will not be that references to European philosophy or political thought are out of place in the study of Turkey; rather, that Turkish material has the potential to critique European philosophy from within and may offer particular challenges to received ways of understanding the political.

The workshop will also address the traditional exoticisation of Turkey and the complexity of the presence of Turkey in European political practice and thought, as well as the presence of Europe and America in Turkish politics


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk