by Begüm Burak
Most nation-states since their inception have had some kind of an “imagined” good or desired (acceptable, palatable) citizen profile. This concept of imagined good citizen has its constitutive others too. Thus, while on the one hand the nation-state endeavors to construct a good citizen; on the other hand and simultaneously, it tries to assimilate or dissimilate the identities that it sees unfit to its good citizen imagination. The nation-states have not only used coercive or physical tactics such as forced migration or population exchange to achieve this, but have also used several Gramscian instruments to manufacture such citizen and negatively represent and even vilify its others. The media has been one of the powerful apparatuses that the nation-states have enthusiastically used.
The Turkish case is a remarkable example in analyzing how and to what extent some particular groups and/or sectors of society are treated by the state as “undesired citizens” or in other words as secondary-status citizens, maybe not in the black-letter law but in practice. As Gramsci states, political leadership cannot be only based on coercion. In addition, it must be based on the consent of the ruled, a consent which is secured by the popularization of the worldview of the ruling class. In this regard, hegemonic power elites do not employ only legal and institutional instruments; they also get engaged in manufacturing consent for making society a homogeneous entity. In other words, the elites resort to social engineering.
In the Turkish case, the press had been one of the most influential tools in enabling the Westernization-oriented efforts of the elites in the early Republican era. The top-down and state-led modernization process was heavily supported by the press in this period. The press also played a key role in showing the masses the “virtues” of the new regime. In this sense, it can be argued that the press had had a significant role in establishing and maintaining the hegemony of the Kemalist regime in the early years of the Turkish Republic.
In the following years, the media continue to play an important role in shaping state-society relations as well as in formulating a dynamic “undesired” citizenship definition, which can be characterized as an ambiguous concept. For example, during the time of the February 28 Process when the Army paved the way for the overthrow of an Islamist-led government, some important newspapers of the time had been engaged in a hostile campaign against religious people and the Islamist political party of the time (The Welfare Party).
It can be said that in democratic societies, the media play a key role in auditing the government and in informing the public. However, in the Turkish case, the media most of the time reproduce the hegemonic-Kemalist elite discourse and do not question undemocratic practices such as the weakness of freedom of speech.
In this study, I aim to contribute to the debates of ‘who the “undesired citizens” in Turkey are’ in the eyes of the media by analyzing the media discourses regarding the “undesired citizenship”. The concept of the “undesired citizen” is not fixed and depending on the socio-political developments, but can be defined in different ways.
In this study, first of all, I will attempt to draw a conceptual framework about how the notion of “undesired” citizenship can be defined through the relevant works and concepts of various scholars, and thinkers such as Foucault, Gramsci, Bourdieu, Derrida, Laclau and Mouffe, Carl Schmitt, Miller & Rose, and Lacan.
Secondly, I will try to trace how on the one hand, the notion of “undesired citizen” is reproduced by the Kemalist-hegemonic media, and on the other hand, how the anti-hegemonic media challenges this very notion. Turkey has a variety of newspapers that have ideologically different motivations, different financial resources, and different audience which have quite different worldviews, some of them being hegemonic and some of them anti-hegemonic.
In this context, I will attempt to analyze how the Kemalist-hegemonic discourse (represented by that of Hurriyet, which has been probably the most effective and influential hegemonic media outlet) constructs and represents the image of the “undesired citizen”. On the other hand, I will analyze how Zaman, as the voice of the “periphery” and one of the powerful representatives of the “anti-hegemonic discourse”, challenges this notion. I will try to find the similarities, the overlapping features (if there are any) and/or differences between the discourses of these two different newspapers in terms of their representation of the image of “undesired” citizenship in Turkey. In this sense, how each newspaper defines the notion of the “undesired citizen” is quite important.
As known, since the 1980s, the state structure, the economic structure and the nature of state-society relations in Turkey have witnessed an important degree of transformation. Inevitably, the definition of the notion of “undesired citizen” has changed too. In this regard, the discursive formation of this notion that is performed by these newspapers will be examined through the use of Critical Discourse Analysis.
In this study I will employ a qualitative methodology; the discourse historical approach (DHA) which is a variant of the Critical Discourse Analysis will be used as the methodological framework. The DHA argues that the discursive realizations can be more or less intensified or mitigated, more or less implicit or explicit, due to historical conventions, public levels of tolerance, political correctness, context and public sphere.
The Theoretical Framework and Literature Review
In this study, I will try to address the nation-building process as the theoretical framework. It is known that nation-building is a process which is mainly characterized by homogenization and standardization. In the following pages, I will try to elaborate on this process in detail. In addition to that, in my paper, I will try to answer the central question I have set: Why does Zaman sometimes have overlapping discourses with that of Hurriyet despite being the owner of the anti-hegemonic discourse? via employing the theory of hegemony.
In this sense, the hypotheses to be tested in the assumption of ‘Despite being the voice of the periphery, Zaman sometimes has discursive equivalences with that of Hurriyet’ and this equivalence mainly results from two phenomena:
- One is the relative success of the nation-building process in Turkey. The elites more or less have succeeded to establish and maintain hegemony in formulizing who can be treated as the “undesired citizens”. In this regard, I will try to test to what degree the nation-building process has been successful through analyzing the overlapping approaches of anti-hegemonic media discourse with that of Kemalist-hegemonic media discourse.
- Another assumption that I will try to test is that the political culture of Turkey and the education system the media elites have gone through have played a key role in making the media elites have some common attitudes towards certain issues such as state-centric worldviews or Turkish nationalist tendencies. In Althusser’s terms (1971) the ideological state apparatuses have played a key role in making the dominant ideology reproduce itself via some channels like the media.
Main Discussion of Existing Approaches /Theories and Findings Relating to the Research
A) Nation-State Formation, Nation-Building Process, National Identity, Nationalism and Citizenship
The nation-state formation had begun in the 18th century and that formation continued until the 20th century. The state-formation process can be viewed as a process through which the state derives its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. It is known that the nation-state formation had gone hand in hand with the emergence of capitalism.
The nations passing through different historical periods in a unique way form the basis of the nation-states. For Walker Connor, a nation is “a group of people who believe they are ancestrally related, and it is the largest grouping that shares such a belief”. The nation is based on felt kinship ties and its basis is a psychological tie that joins a people and differentiates it from everyone else, in the sub-conscious conviction of its members. These ties do not have to be real biologically while the events do not have to be experienced exactly (because historical facts can be manipulated by the nation builders) in history. Thus, the important thing is not ‘what is’ but ‘what is felt to be’ and an important ingredient of national psychology is a sub-conscious belief in the groups’ separate origin and evolution.
Apart from that, nationalism can be treated as a phenomenon that has emerged during the times of nation-state formation and nation-building process. The pioneering figures, namely the elites in these times resort to nationalism as an ideology.
On the other hand, there are various approaches to the notion of nationalism. For example, Gellner has claimed that the rise of nations and nationalism has been the “logical” consequence of a transition from one social order to another – from agrarian to industrial society. Gellner claims that “nationalism is not the awakening of nations to self-consciousness: it invents nations where they do not exist”. By contrast, Benedict Anderson claims that the nations like any other large communities are imagined since “the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.”.
In his frequently-cited work, Smith distinguishes between two dimensions of nationalism: an ethnic-genealogical dimension and a civic-territorial one. The nation in the ethnic view is defined by ancestry not by boundaries of a state. It is a community of birth and native culture where common descent is heavily emphasized. A focus on shared history, native language and religion is maintained. Alternatively, Smith describes a civic model of nation where a nation is conceived mainly as a rational political community. This version defines the historical territory of the nation as a defining characteristic with an emphasis on a community of laws and institutions that share a common civic culture and ideology.
Before addressing the nation-building process and the concept of citizenship, it is needed to take a look at the impacts of the revolutions that occurred in the 18th and the 19th centuries upon nation-building process and the concept of citizenship. For instance, Rogers Brubaker states that the French Revolution had invented both the nation-state and its modern institutional and ideological basis for citizenship.
With the French Revolution, the individuals had turned into citizens who accept the laws and necessities of the state and who can grant some particular rights as long as they perform their duties. The nation-building process is based on purpose of creating an “enlightened citizen”. The creation of an “enlightened citizen” in Norbert Elias’ words can be seen as a project that not only aims to break the ties with the old traditional forces but also aims to make the individuals get responsibilities and duties under the rule of new forces. In this sense, the individuals are supposed to adopt a set of specific attitudes, behaviors, and roles through internalizing some particular perceptions and standards of judgment. Bourdieu defines this set of specific attitudes, perceptions, standards of judgment and codes of behavior as the “Habitus”.
Dominique Schnapper underlines the importance of the concept of “Habitus” for analyzing the concept of citizenship. According to him, the nation-building process creates a unique social habitus that connects the honor of the individuals to being able to become a “good citizen”.
On the other hand, the trajectories of the three terrains of nation-building (language, education, and citizenship) exhibit that nationhood was informed by ideological, political, economic, and geopolitical forces. It can be said that language and education play a major role in spreading the ideology of the newly-established nation-state. Gramsci’s concept of “organic intellectuals” and Mario Isnenghi’s concept of “civil servant and militant intellectual” can be seen as important conceptualizations that show the critical role of education and the press in providing legitimacy for the new regime.
Central to nation-building is the creation of a national history and a national political culture.
It can be said that the creation of a national history and a national political culture are essential for providing a considerable amount of homogenization and standardization among the masses.
All those who participate in creating and spreading a common past can be called nation builders. Usually, they are members of the elite. It can be stated that there are three main reasons that pave the way for certain groups of people (like elites) to get a pioneering role in this process. First, they have a political, economic or social interest in nationalism, and would be the main beneficiaries of the stabilizing and legitimizing effects of a nationalist political culture based upon a national common past. Second, they are the only ones sufficiently educated to produce literature or art, or engage in historical research. Third, by definition, members of an elite possess influence and are thus capable of extending their beliefs/worldviews to the population at large. Initially, all nationalisms were created by an elite playing the decisive role in the formation of the intellectual content of each nationalism.
In principle, all nation-building processes are cultural interventions as the center establishes a particular identity on the periphery, or, in other words, the elites create a national identity for the rest of the population. In this context, it can be argued that, the formation of a particular identity inevitably covers the elimination of different identities that are not welcomed by the elites.
The national identity can be viewed as an instilled consciousness that turns individuals into citizens during the nation-building process. In addition, having a national identity means being conscious of and belonging to a nation; thus it can be said that it is a collective identity that brings people together under a common brand. It must be noted that nationalism activates national identity. In other words, as Ernest Barker says “(…) a nation must be an idea as well as a fact before it can become a dynamic force.”. With dynamic force, nationalism is implied; having a national identity does not necessarily mean being a nationalist.
Actually, as mentioned by Smith, national identity and nation are complex constructs composed of interrelated components such as ethnic, cultural, territorial, economic and legal-political. They present solidarity among members of communities united by shared memories, myths, and traditions. Nevertheless, this may or may not take the form of state. Hence, the definition of national identity is closely related with how the nation is defined, which varies according to different scholars.
Yet, while there is a consensus about the subjectivity of the national identity, there are a number of different approaches about the meaning of it. Accordingly, the criteria for determining what constitutes a nation changes from one community to another; the criterion may be the language, religion, territory or race, or a combination of any of these. The proponents of the civic dimension (i.e. Ernest Gellner, Eric Hobsbawm, Benedict Anderson, etc.) emphasize that nations are modern constructions, not historic. They emphasize nations’ being recent and new in political character, cultural homogeneity, and territorial consolidation. For them, the only criterion for the membership of a nation is through citizenship. Similarly, nation-states provide the framework for modern industrial societies and the people in those nation states imagine a national identity through career structures, educational systems, and cultural instruments (newspapers, books etc.).
In the modernist view of nation, it is the nationalism that creates nation and as Hobsbawm argues, nations are invented traditions which are socially engineered. However, Anthony D. Smith argues that nations have both ethnic and civic territorial components and defines the nation as “a named population sharing a historic territory, common myths and historical memories, a mass, public culture, a common economy and common legal rights and duties for all members”. As clearly seen from this definition, national identity has a complex nature including elements of other kinds of collective identities (religious, ethnic, or class etc.). Concequently, a national identity is a multi-dimensional concept and can’t be reduced to a single element. Smith emphasizes the importance of ethno-historical myths for providing political community a sense of collective identity and destiny.
How the national identity is identified and how the past is reconstructed are dependent on the nation-building process carried out by the state. Hence, in that sense, national identity is a constructed concept. Accordingly, it is the state that controls and coordinates the process and it tries to shift population’s loyalty from local, sub-national identities towards collective, national identity. While doing this, as Calhoun noted, in most cases, nationalists draw on pre-existing traditions and other cultural resources to build a national unity.
One of the most important tools of the state to disseminate the new national identity is formal education. Education enables the state to offer the population a sense of belonging to the newly created nation. Therefore, the socialization of the people as citizens is achieved through compulsory, standardized, formal, public mass education systems, by which the state tries to create a homogeneous culture.
The common culture is an important component of the national identity thus, the created nation concept provides a social bond among individuals by providing shared values, symbols and traditions. Accordingly, the members of the nation are reminded of their common heritage and cultural kinship through the use of symbols, such as flags, national anthems, uniforms, ceremonies, monuments and money. Among the cultural aspects of national identity, religion also has a significant role.
On the other hand, it is known that a decisive process in nation state building is the homogenization of the population into a national identity. This process of homogenization relates to the assimilation, exclusion, deportation, and even massacre of the minority groups. In this sense, it is obvious that the citizenship formation is closely related to the homogenization in nation building process. Moreover, it can be said that the citizenship formation is directly related to the state formation of a land.
Modern notion of citizenship is generally regarded as the offspring of the French Revolution, but several other political social and economic developments, which marked the period of modernity in Western history from the sixteenth century onwards, laid the foundations for “the transition from a monarch-subject relationship to a state-citizen relationship”. Because of the French and Industrial Revolutions the legitimacy of the old social and political order, which was dominated by aristocracy and Church, was undermined. As an alternative means of stability the concept and status of citizenship was required.
The approaches to citizenship can be identified as the classical or civic-republican and the liberal or liberal-individualist conception of citizenship.
Liberal understanding of citizenship is linked to the development of capitalism and nation-state. It has a conception of citizenship as legal status and focuses on “rights‟. According to this conception, the rights inhere in individuals, because individuals are both logically and morally prior to society and the state, and one of the primary purposes of the state is to secure and protect these natural rights. The state is useful to the citizen as a “night-watchman” and it is expected “to render service to individual interests and purposes, to protect citizens in the exercise of their rights, and to leave them unhindered in the pursuit of whatever individual and collective interests and purposes they might have”.
By contrast, in the civic-republican conception of citizenship, the emphasis is on practice, activity. This understanding has its roots in the Ancient Greek political philosophy and is mainly inspired from the ethical and political thought of Aristotle who defined the citizen as “the individual who shares in the civic life of ruling and being ruled in turn.”. Civic republicanism has a conception of individuals different from that of liberalism: individuals are not considered as being logically prior to society. It is by performing their duties, by public service of fairly specific kinds, that individuals demonstrate that they are citizens. This emphasis on practice gives rise to a language of “duties”.
B) An Attempt to Conceptualize the “Undesired Citizenship” and the Role of the Media in Reproducing and/or Challenging the Dominant Ideology and Citizenship Understanding
In order to be able to reach a particular “undesired citizenship” conceptualization, first of all, the historical background that describes the state formation and nation-building process must be clarified. Then what kind of philosophical understanding (civic or republican) lies at the heart of the nation-building process must be made clear. Apart from that, there are a number of works that can be drawn upon in order to make such a conceptualization.
It can be argued that, to label a group of citizens as the “undesired citizens”, some other groups must be seen as the good citizens. So before stigmatizing and excluding some sort of citizens, the elites need to define who can be a good citizen . In this regard, the concept “The Ideological State Apparatuses” of Althusser can be a good starting point for analyzing how the elites instill their understanding of good citizenship and stigmatize some others as the “undesired citizens”. According to Althusser, the state via institutions like the church, media, and schools disseminate its ideology among the masses without using coercion. In this sense, it can be argued that the citizens who do not adhere to the dominant ideology that is spread by those institutions can be viewed as the “undesired citizens”.
Another Marxist, A. Gramsci’s notion of “hegemony” can be quite helpful in analyzing the concept of citizenship. The concept of hegemony means that political leadership is based not only on coercion but also on the consent of the led; a consent, which is secured by the diffusion and popularization of the worldview of the ruling class. Hegemony signifies the control of social life (by a group or a class) through cultural, as opposed to physical, means.
Elites aim to secure consensus so that their rule would appear just and natural. The hegemonic group represents a theoretical self-perception, a “philosophy”. Thus, it can be stated that, the elites draw the boundaries of citizenship and they also get a certain degree of consent from the citizens. The media is one of the principal instruments that is used by the elites in spreading their worldviews and ideologies. However, the citizens who do not agree with the citizenship understanding that is determined by the elites and who try to challenge it are seen as the “undesired citizens”.
Gramsci believed the media had a vital role in inculcating individuals to do things in their everyday lives that would support the establishment. Even though there are some disagreements over the precise nature of hegemony, it is widely perceived “that emphasis is on the cultural and ideological modes produced by the institutions dominated by ruling elites”. The media helps perpetuate an economically, culturally and ideologically biased consciousness and all of society is thus effectively dominated by the false logic and consciousness through the instrumentalist use of media.
The media is also important in maintaining the dominant ideology and in showing the principles of that ideology as the “common sense”. The hegemonic worldview propagates its own values and norms through the media so that these values and norms become everyone’s “common sense” values. The media language plays a key role in providing positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation. Thus, it can be stated that, the citizens who do not remain faithful to the values of the “common sense” are stigmatized as the “undesired citizens”.
On the other hand, Bourdieu’s concepts of Doxa and Habitus can be employed in conceptualizing the notion of “undesired citizenship”. Habitus can be defined as a set of specific attitudes, and codes of conduct through internalizing some particular perceptions and standards of judgment. The elites through articulating the habitus which they define and practice with that of their citizenship understanding create the “doxa of citizenship”. In other words, they draw the boundaries of who can be a good citizen and as a result, label the others as the “undesired citizens”.
I use the concept of doxa as a heuristic tool in order to understand the citizenship perspective as a “system of classification” that contributes to the objectification, universalization and naturalization of a particular and arbitrary form of understanding politics and history. Bourdieu used the term doxa to denote what is taken for granted in any particular society. The doxa, in his view, is the experience by which “the natural and social world appears as self-evident”. Moreover, another concept of Bourdieu, the “symbolic violence” can be functional in showing why the doxa of citizenship is not questioned. This notion represents an extension of the term “violence” to include various modes of social/cultural domination. Symbolic violence is the unnoticed (partly unconscious) domination that every-day social habits maintain over the conscious subject.
It can be argued that, the citizens, consciously or not, accept the boundaries determined by the elites. Those who question these boundaries can also be seen as the ones who are influenced by the practice of that symbolic violence not as much as the ones who accept it. In line with this, the media can be treated as an important tool which is used by elites for employing symbolic violence upon the masses. Norman Fairclough states that the political language is one of the significant ways of exercising power. According to him, language can be used via dominant ideologies and hegemonic discourses and through these, elites exercise power.
Also Foucault’s concept of “governmentality” can be helpful in studying state-citizen relations. Governmentality can be understood as the way governments try to create the citizens best suited to fulfill those governments’ needs. Furthermore, governmentality can be seen as the organized practices (mentalities, rationalities, and techniques) through which subjects are governed. In addition, Foucault central point of power/knowledge relationship can be functional in revealing how the elites who hold power shape citizenship-related definitions. The media, which serve as one of the ideological state apparatuses, reproduce these definitions.
Apart from that, the notion of “the constitutive outside” of Derrida is important in analyzing collective political identities. The us/them distinction is central in the constitution of collective political identities. In this regard, it is not surprising to see the need for an “undesired citizenship” notion in order to reach a common “we”. In parallel to that, the friend/enemy distinction belonging to Carl Schmitt may be helpful in questing citizenship-related contrasts— be it linguistic, ethnic, cultural, religious, etc. — that may become a marker of collective identity and difference. The media from time to time through employing a demonizing and vilifying language play a major role in making these contrasts visible and remarkable. It can be said that when the media use a nationalist and racist language, it aims to show the “other” as the weak and cheating actor .
On the other hand, the works of Lacan can be addressed too. For instance, we might approach the Other (in this study, the “undesired citizen”) as Lacan’s means of insisting on the omnipresence of social mediation, as the ever-varying network of trans-subjective social structures and values underlying a given society. The Other can hence be viewed as the Other of language, of certain ideals, norms and ideology of a particular society or community and as a position, a presumed or posited point (or perspective) of authority, knowledge, validation. Therefore, it is this Other which constrains the option of images available in the process of re-evaluation of social categories. It can be said that it is the Other which judges if a social identity or image is positive or negative, that it is the Other which puts limits to who one can be.
In addition to all these, Laclau and Mouffe’s theory of social antagonism is useful in examining the notion of the “undesired citizen” as this theory shows exclusion as an inevitable process in the construction of identity. In this theory, identities are both plural and competitive, agents are defined as a collection of different identities, each defined in relation to a negative ‘other’ and it is the manner in which the ‘other’ is constituted as a negative entity that can be seen as an act of power.
Laclau uses the example of the discursive construction of the ‘East’ in order to show how the ‘other’ becomes a banner under which a number of different identities get formed in opposition to the western identities.
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 NB: This research paper is based on a shortened version of my PhD proposal which was approved for publication by my supervisorAssoc. Prof. Ihsan Yılmaz
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 Cited in Utz, Raphael, “Nations, Nation-Building, and Cultural Intervention: A Social Science Perspective”, Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law: 9 (2005), pp. 615-647.
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 Heater, Derek, What is Citizenship, (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1999)
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 (Janowitz, 1980)
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 Althusser, L., “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” in L. Althusser (Ed.), Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971)
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 Bourdieu, Pierre, Distinction (London: Routledge, 1986).
 The concept of “doxa of citizenship” is a term which I will try to coin in my study.
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 Dimitrakopoulou Dimitra, & Orhon Nezih “Greek Media’s Coverage on Turkey’s Accession to the EU and Turkish Media’s Striking Back” in Savaş Arslan, Volkan Aytar, Defne Karaosmanoğlu and Süheyla Krca Schroeder (eds) Media, Culture and Identity in Europe, (Istanbul: Bahçeşehir University Press, 2009)
 Glynos, J. “ The Grip of Ideology: a Lacanian approach to the theory of ideology.” Journal of Political Ideologies: 6 (2001), pp. 191-214.; Daly, G. “Ideology and Its Paradoxes: Dimensions of Fantasy and Enjoyment.”, Journal of Political Ideologies: 4 (1999), pp. 219-238.
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