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Discourse and Identity in Turkish Media

by Süheyla Nil Mustafa (Volume editor) Ayşe Dilara Bostan (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 188 Pages

Summary

Mainstream media offer audiences identities in accordance with certain definitions of “normal behavior” as given in hegemonic discourses. This book explores the hegemonic/normative discourses circulating in the Turkish mainstream media. Such an analysis provides the mental codes and frameworks offered to the ordinary Turkish people “subjected” to the mass media throughout their daily lives. Each chapter employs different methods for discursive analysis and media formats. Since the authors inquire into the socio-political reality and conjunctures upon which these media discourses are constituted, the book offers much to those readers investigating both the Turkish media and the socio-political transformation that took place in Turkey in the past two decades.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Contributors
  • Introduction (Süheyla Nil Mustafa & Ayşe Dilara Bostan)
  • Chapter 1 Reading the Turkish Femininity through the Proceedings of a Social Drama Enacted in a Celebrity Gossip TV Program (Süheyla Nil Mustafa)
  • Chapter 2 “Save Us from Valentine’s Day!” Advertising Imaged Carnivals, Imagined Resistances (Alparslan Nas)
  • Chapter 3 The Representations of Family and Gender as a Consensus Narrative in the Film Aile Arasında (Ayşe Dilara Bostan)
  • Chapter 4 Turkish Citizen Reconstructed in Keloğlan (Bald Boy) Tales Cartoon: an Hermeneutical Analysis (Ahmet Güven)
  • Chapter 5 Reproduction of the Kurdish Cultural Identity in TRT Kûrdi (Aysel Ay)
  • Chapter 6 The Role of Ottoman Cuisine in Turkish Gastrodiplomacy: Analyzing Gastronationalist Attitudes in Traditional Food Culture (Şeyda Barlas Bozkuş)
  • Chapter 7 The Formation of Hybrid Identity in Food Communications (Derya Nil Budak)
  • Chapter 8 The Image of Gendarmerie in the Context of New Media and the Use of Social Media in General Commandership of Gendarmerie (Bahar Öztürk & Ali Özcan)

List of Contributors

Ahmet Güven

Asst. Prof. Dr., Bandırma University, Faculty of Communication, aguven@bandirma.edu.tr

Ali Özcan

Asst. Prof. Dr., Gümüşhane University, Faculty of Communication, aliozcan@gumushane.edu.tr

Alparslan Nas

Assoc. Prof. Dr., Marmara University, Faculty of Communication, alparslan.nas@marmara.edu.tr

Ayşe Dilara Bostan

Lecturer, Ph.D., Marmara University, Faculty of Communication, dilara.okuyucu@marmara.edu.tr.

Aysel Ay

Lecturer, Ph.D., Marmara University, Faculty of Communication, aysel.ay@marmara.edu.tr.

Bahar Öztürk

Asst. Prof. Dr., İnönü University, Faculty of Communication, bahar.ozturk@inonu.edu.tr

Derya Nil Budak

Lecturer, Ph.D., Yeditepe University, deryanilbudak@gmail.com

Süheyla Nil Mustafa

Lecturer, Ph.D., Marmara University, Faculty of Communication, suheyla.mustafa@marmara.edu.tr.

Şeyda Barlas Bozkuş

Assoc. Prof. Dr., Marmara University, Faculty of Communication, barlasseyda@hotmail.com

Introduction

This book is basically an endeavor to inquire into the discourses which are in circulation in various media contents in contemporary Turkey.

In our study we offer to consider “media” in terms of Foucault’s conceptualization of modern institution of power, that is to say, the modern institutions (such as school, factory, prison, and hospital) which aim at turning people into “subjects” having certain modes of thinking and behaviors. According to Foucault, all these modern institutions of power function through various discourses and discursive practices to inculcate in people certain “norms” and relevant “normal behavior and thinking.” In contrast to Foucault’s institutions which entail certain organizational bodies and disciplinary methods, media has obtained significant power on the normalization of the people without any disciplinary authority.

Being inspired from this Foucauldian analytical framework on the discursive production of the norms, subjects and identities, it is argued that the media content in the mainstream Turkish media do reproduce similar or parallel discourses of Turkish subjectivities/identities which offer certain definitions of “normal behavior.” Differential discourses which seem to be dissonant with the “normative discourses,” that is, the hegemonic discourses, can also find place in these media contents. However, they do not seem to radically challenge the “normative discourses” but exist together with them and thus, transform them subtly and insidiously. By this means, “the normative discourses” are reproduced and transformed at the same time. Hence, the norms or normative discourses with respect to the identities in Turkey are stretched through their discursive borders.

Therefore, the book is confined to the media content that is produced in the mainstream Turkish media rather than that of radical media which can be defined as politically positioned in the margins and reproduces radically oppositional ideologies or thinking when compared to the mainstream media content.

In this respect, we are in search of the discursive constitution of the Turkish subjects as they are illustrated in the “normative discourses” given in the mainstream Turkish media. Such an analysis provides us the mental codes or maps ←9 | 10→of thinking that are offered to the ordinary Turkish people who are “subjected” to such media content throughout their daily lives.

The book is composed of articles which provide certain analyses of the Turkish media content by employing different methods for discursive analysis such as Foucauldian discourse analysis, Greimas’ narrative analysis, Ricoeur’s hermeneutic analysis, Bakhtin’s narrative analysis, Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis and various other methods of qualitative content analysis.

In addition to the different media contents, various media formats such as cinema films, TV series, cartoons for the children, talk shows on TV, advertisements, social media accounts and magazines are handled in the articles.

The book offers a great deal to a wide audience, such as academics from various social science disciplines, as well as to researchers and readers of specific topics or concepts such as identity, discourse, representation, gender, hegemonic femininity / masculinity, ethnic identity, nationalism, neoliberalism, conservatism, and consumerism.

In addition to the media representations of identities, the articles also offer explanations in terms of the socio-political conjunctures upon which these media discourses and thus identities are constituted. Therefore, the book does not only provide significant analyses of the Turkish mainstream media and the hegemonic discourses held in it, but it also refers to the socio-political reality engendering certain media representations and mental frameworks. In this respect, the book offers much to those readers who investigate the socio-political changes that has taken place in Turkey in line with the rising neoliberal and conservative thinking in the past two decades.

Finally, as the editors we would like to thank the chapter authors who contributed to the book and the designer, Betül Okuyucu for the cover image.

Süheyla Nil Mustafa & Ayşe Dilara Bostan

Istanbul, 2021

←10 | 11→

Süheyla Nil Mustafa

Chapter 1 Reading the Turkish Femininity through the Proceedings of a Social Drama Enacted in a Celebrity Gossip TV Program

Abstract: This article analyzes the process involving the spread of a social crisis that broke out in social media platform into traditional mass media and its resolution upon being featured and judged in a celebrity gossip TV show in line with the conceptual framework provided by the prominent anthropologist Victor Turner. For Turner, the crisis situations provide greater insight into the normative structures or hegemonic discourses in society since the norms are being entrenched and become more visible along the lines of defense in times of social crises. Turner defines the processual nature of any social conflict in terms of his concept of social drama. In line with Turner’s argumentation, this paper suggests that the social conflicts represented on the television shows also reveal significant comprehension with respect to the normative discourses of the contemporary Turkish society. In our case, the discussions held on a certain celebrity gossip show will be examined through the Foucauldian discourse analysis to understand how the existing hegemonic discourses of femininity and masculinity in contemporary Turkey are reproduced and modified throughout the narratives held in the program. The literature on daytime television talk shows in Turkey mostly argue that the traditional feminine identity in accordance with the hegemonic patriarchal discourse in Turkey is reproduced in these programs. This paper shows that television programs do not just reproduce the existing norms and identities, but traditional discursive codes of Turkish feminine identity are modified as an effect of the juxtaposition of the neoliberal discourse of individual self-empowerment and the traditional discourse of solidarity of the family. Finally, it is considered that although women seem to be empowered with the neoliberal discourse of self-responsibility and empowerment, they are only permitted to enforce this power for the benefit of the family rather than their individuality and condemned for their individual desires and choices.

Keywords: Hegemonic femininity, Victor Turner, Social drama, Foucault, Discourse analysis, Neoliberalism, Celebrity gossip TV show

Introduction

Celebrity gossip shows on TV are mostly considered in relation to the genre of tabloid journalism. It is a type of journalism that is undervalued since it makes news about famous people rather than serious political, economic, and social ←11 | 12→subject matters. The literature on tabloid journalism/television and entertainment news reveals the underestimation toward these types of news-making due to the perceived lack of social use value of such news content.1

Following the conceptual framework suggested by the distinguished anthropologist Victor Turner, this paper argues that the celebrity gossip shows (rather need to be thought as talk shows in Turkey) are considered to function as a part of social conflicts that take place in the contemporary Turkish society. These shows mirror the public opinion, namely the comments and reactions of citizens on social media. Thus, the conflict situations that are generated by the celebrity figures are discussed and judged on the screen throughout the programs. The program hosts take both the subject matters for discussion and arguments from the people, as represented in social media.

In his seminal book, Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society, Victor Turner states that he shares “Freud’s view that disturbances of the normal and regular often give us greater insight into the normal than does direct study. Deep structure may be revealed through surface anti-structure or counter-structure.”2 In this respect, he believes that the crises reveal the normative structures or discourses dominant in society. He also adds, “Conflict seems to bring fundamental aspects of society, normally overlaid by the customs and habits of the daily intercourse, into frightening prominence. People have to take sides in terms of deeply entrenched moral imperatives and constraints, often against their own personal preferences. Choice is overborne by duty.”3

As he puts it, in conflict situations the normative discourses or moral codes, which operate meticulously without drawing anyone’s attention in daily life ←12 | 13→and are accepted without much consideration, come to the fore and are thus put under scrutiny. Moreover, he says that people who have been dealing with this crisis either remotely or closely have to express their opinions and declare their sides in accordance with the discourses brought about by this crisis. Therefore, the discussions or comments revealed upon the social conflict provide us further insight into the normative discourses of that society.

In line with Turner’s argumentation, this paper suggests that the social conflicts represented on the celebrity gossip shows also reveal significant insight with respect to the normative discourses of the contemporary Turkish society. In our case, the discussions held on a certain celebrity gossip show will be examined through discourse analysis in order to understand how the existing hegemonic discourses of heteronormativity and of femininity in contemporary Turkey are both reproduced and modified throughout the narratives held in the program. As femininity is defined here as the experience of being a woman or the formation of female identities, it is also targeted to understand the scope of the experience of womanhood given and discussed in this TV program. Hence, the study will provide us insight into the female subjectivity in Turkish society, that is the proper modes of thinking and living for a Turkish woman.

Biographical notes

Süheyla Nil Mustafa (Volume editor) Ayşe Dilara Bostan (Volume editor)

Süheyla Nil Mustafa wrote her Ph.D. dissertation “Making of the Ottoman Policemen, 1880-1918” at Bog˘aziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey. She had a double major in sociology and political science and completed her Masters in the Department of IR and Political Science at Bog˘aziçi University. Her scholarly interests are identity, gender, discourse and sociology of communication. She works as a lecturer of the courses in sociology, research methods and history of communication in the Faculty of Communication at Marmara University. Ayşe Dilara Bostan prepared her Ph.D. dissertation “Gender in Disney Animations: Semiotic Analysis of Princessed Narratives” at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey. Her research areas are cinema, gender, semiotics and cultural studies. She lectures courses of nonviolent communication and seminars in the Faculty of Communication at Marmara University.

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