Religion in the public sphere:

The transformation of secularism and Muslim identities in Turkey

While only a decade ago it was pious Muslims’ presence in the public sphere that was restricted by the secular state in Turkey, today a diversity of citizens protest against the imposition of the lifestyle of a newly ascendant Islamic elite in the public sphere. My project examines this radical shift in the public role of religion and the redefinition of secularism over the last decade. By analyzing the multiplicity and often the contradictory attitudes and practices of the ‘devout sector’ in Turkey, I argue that the current public role of Islam is as much contested as the secular ideology of the recent past. Rather than the end of secularism or political Islam, my analysis shows that both secularism and the public role of religion are being actively redefined through everyday practices and spaces.


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