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Social Media in Southeast Turkey

Social Media in Southeast Turkey OPEN ACCESS

Elisabetta Costa
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 2016
Edition: 1
Published by: UCL Press
Pages: 210
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  • Book Info
    Social Media in Southeast Turkey
    Book Description:

    This book presents an ethnographic study of social media in Mardin, a medium-sized town located in the Kurdish region of Turkey. The town is inhabited mainly by Sunni Muslim Arabs and Kurds, and has been transformed in recent years by urbanisation, neoliberalism and political events. Elisabetta Costa uses her 15 months of ethnographic research to explain why public-facing social media is more conservative than offline life. Yet, at the same time, social media has opened up unprecedented possibilities for private communications between genders and in relationships among young people – Costa reveals new worlds of intimacy, love and romance. She also discovers that, when viewed from the perspective of people’s everyday lives, political participation on social media looks very different to how it is portrayed in studies of political postings separated from their original complex, and highly socialised, context.

    eISBN: 978-1-910634-54-7
    Subjects: Anthropology
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Table of Contents

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  1. This book is one of a series of 11 titles. Nine are monographs devoted to specific field sites (including this one) in Brazil, Chile, China, England, India, Italy, Trinidad and Turkey – they will be published in 2016 – 17. The series also includes a comparative book about all our findings, published to accompany this title, and a final book which contrasts the visuals that people post on Facebook in the English field site with those on our Trinidadian field site.

    When we tell people that we have written nine monographs about social media around the world, all using the same chapter...

  2. One evening in late Spring, as on many other weekday evenings, Yağmur¹ went to visit her aunt and three cousins, together with her mother and younger sister. The seven Arab women sat in the sitting room of a well-furnished house for more than five hours. They spoke about clothes, make-up and food. They gossiped, drank tea and ate fruit and sweets. Throughout the whole evening the young women of the family sat on the sofa, constantly using their smartphones to speak with their secret boyfriends (sevgili) right in front of their mothers and aunts, who were apparently ignoring what was...

  3. ‘Sometimes married men (on Facebook) meet other women, they cheat on their wives and they go to live with the women they met on Facebook. My husband cheated on me with another woman, and went to live with the woman he met on Facebook.’² This is the message a young woman from a rural background wrote in my notebook when she was so overcome with tears that she could not speak any more. A few days after my arrival in Mardin, when I told her I was doing research about social media, the expression on her face changed, she started...

  4. On Saturday afternoon, three 23-year-old Arab female friends had lunch together in the house of one of them in the modern Toki¹ building at the entrance of the new city. The housewife mother of one of them had cooked delicious traditional food from the region –çiğköfte(raw meat balls served on lettuce leaves),Mercimek Çorbasý(lentil soup) andIskembe dolmasi(tripe stuffed with meat and rice) – and served this savoury, rich meal in the spacious empty floor in the middle of the lounge. The three women took innumerable pictures of the feast and themselves sitting together, and posted the best...

  5. Although the policies put in place by the Turkish State since the foundation of the Republic in 1923 were aimed at modernising Turkish culture and society and assimilating ethnic minorities, Kurdish and Arab kinship systems continue to be quite different from those of the Turks. The Turkish nation-building project was based on the idea of a civilising mission that included a transformation of the masses from southeastern and eastern Anatolia; discussion of the kinship organisation of the population living in the southeast has been part of a wider ‘Orientalist’ representation sustained by the Turkish nationalist elite, who stigmatised ethnic minorities...

  6. The impact of social media in the field of premarital romance among young adults living in Mardin is extraordinary. The previous two chapters focused on the reproduction of traditional social formations and hyper-conservative public social norms. By contrast, this chapter investigates the new practices of courtship, flirting, dating and inter-gender communication that have been enabled by social media. I emphasise here the transformative role of social media and the extent to which it has expanded the opportunities to satisfy pre-existing desires for premarital romantic love, which were traditionally limited to rare encounters in the few available and suitable offline spaces....

  7. What are the political implications of social media? Does social media have any political effect? This chapter will discuss whether and how social media has transformed everyday political life in Mardin. Most accounts of the internet and politics have been informed by Western models of the democratic state, public sphere and civil society, which have often neglected cultural differences and proposed reductionist models.¹ On the other hand, anthropology has never taken for granted the meaning of the word ‘political’. Since the 1970s anthropologists have tended to include within the category of the ‘political’ aspects of everyday and ordinary life that...

  8. A moral panic surrounding Facebook spread in Mardin during the course of the research: people were using special applications to steal Facebook user names and passwords in order to damage the reputation of other people. These anonymous impostors derived much pleasure from posting shameful words, images and videos on other people’s walls. Misuses also included the modification of photos of female friends into sexually explicit images, or requesting sexual acts from female friends and money from male friends. There were many cases of people affected by these kinds of pranks, and teenagers and young adults in Mardin lived with the...