Among the scholars of Turkey, there is a wide-spread tendency to view post-1980s as an era of progress and liberalization that also encompasses the fom1ation of a nascent civil society. Within that context, the contemporary revival of Alevilik in Turkey, along with the revival of Sunni Islam, is believed to demonstrate how a culture based group challenges the authority of the homogeneous national identity. Thus, the increasing visibility of Alevis in the public sphere is also taken as a proof of the formation of a pluralist and multicultural environment in Turkey, in which the power of the state is diminished. Yet, this thesis aims to challenge the perspective presented above through the analysis of the contemporary Alevi politics in Corum, a provincial city with a significant Alevi minority. Indeed, according to this thesis, an investigation of the Alevi politics in Turkey overall and in Corum particularly illustrates that the Alevis reiterate the power of the state rather than confronting it by presenting themselves as progressive, democratic, liberal and secular Muslims. To put it differently, the politics of Alevi revival reinforces the relations of power between the state and the society that eventually lead to the subordination of Alevis. Along those lines, the thesis also examines the emancipatory possibilities of political strategies based on cultural identity. Thus, it argues that even though the recognition of Alevi identity is a political gain in itself, it does not automatically lead to a more pluralist society. Hence, the thesis concludes, what is needed to be accomplished is an equal distribution of resources through the transformation of political and economic institutions along with the recognition of ethnic and religious differences.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Middle East Studies Center

Degree Name

MA in Middle East Studies

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Martina Rieker

Committee Member 1

Martina Rieker

Committee Member 2

Mona Abaza

Committee Member 3

Emad Shahin

Document Type



69 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1


Library of Congress Subject Heading 2



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Call Number

Thesis 2005/54