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Discourse and Identity in Turkish Media

Edited By Süheyla Nil Mustafa and Ayşe Dilara Bostan

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.

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Introduction (Süheyla Nil Mustafa & Ayşe Dilara Bostan)

Extract

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...

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