Neo-Ottomanism and the Politics of Emotions in Turkey: Resentment, Nostalgia, Narcissism

Nagehan Tokdoğan

The main focus of my book is the politics of emotions under the currently ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey. Drawing on the historical development of political Islamic tradition in Turkey, I cover the period from the late Ottoman Empire to the present, mainly focusing on the period after 2002. My primary area of investigation is the role of emotional politics in the enduring success of Erdoğan’s rule, particularly regarding the utilization of the Neo-Ottomanist narrative to create a new national mood. I deploy a narrative analysis method to analyze the interactions between national narratives, symbolic politics, and politics of emotions, and argue that these interactions have been at the root of the popular support the AKP has achieved over 2 decades.

Following theoretical discussions on the relationship between politics, emotions, and symbols, the book examines the historical development and current manifestations of Neo-Ottomanism as an alternative national narrative, and analyzes three symbolic sites of Neo-Ottomanist politics of emotions (leader, space, and myth). The book is the first that focuses specifically on the politics of emotions in Turkey, serving as a pioneering contribution to the field by showing how a national narrative may address and mobilize emotions. The book is distinctive in understanding how and why the Erdoğan regime has been receiving the support of the masses despite the various crises in which it has played the major role. The content of the book offers an extensive perspective for comprehending the role of emotions in politics.

Key Reference

Tokdoğan, N. (in press). Neo-Ottomanism and the politics of emotions in Turkey: Resentment, nostalgia, narcissism. Palgrave Macmillan.
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