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Faith and Fashion in Turkey: Consumption, Politics and Islamic Identities

Faith and Fashion in Turkey: Consumption, Politics and Islamic Identities
Nazli Alimen

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Turkey has witnessed remarkable sociocultural change under the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), particularly regarding its religious communities. As individuals with pious identities have increasingly gained access to state power and accumulated economic influence, so religious appearances and practices have become more visible in Turkey’s ‘secular’ public spaces. More than this, consumption practices have changed and new Islamic and Islamist identities have emerged.

This book investigates three of the most widespread faith-inspired communities in Turkey: the Gülen, Süleymanli and the Menzil. Nazli Alimen compares these communities, looking at their diverse interpretations of Islamic rules related to the body and dress, and how these different groups compete for power and control in Turkey. In tracing what motivates consumption practices, the book adds to the growing interest in the commercial aspects of modest and Islamic fashion. It also highlights the importance of clothing and bodily rituals (such as veiling, grooming and food choices) for the formation of community identities. Based on ethnographic research, Alimen analyses the relationship between the marketplace and religion, and shows how different communities interact with each other and state institutions. Of particular note are the varied expressions of Islamic masculinities and femininities at play. Appealing to a cross-disciplinary readership, the book will be relevant for scholars within Turkish Studies, Gender Studies, Islamic Studies, Fashion, Consumption Studies, Sociology of Religion and Middle Eastern Studies.

Author Info

Nazlı Alimen is a research fellow at Helsinki University. She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies and Marketing from University of the Arts London. Her research interests include visual and material cultures, particularly fashion and dress, consumer culture, and fashion marketing. She has published in a variety of journals as well as writing a chapter for The Routledge International Handbook of Veils and Veiling Practices.


'Faith and Fashion provides a fascinating and timely comparative study of Islamic masculinities in three faith-based associations between 2012 and 2016. Interviewing observant men and women from the Gülen, Süleymanlı and Menzil communities, Nazlı Alimen uncovers their everyday identities, subjectivities, practices and tastes, including an examination of Turkey’s Islamic high fashion industry.' - Miriam Cooke is Braxton Craven Professor Emerita of Arab Cultures Duke University and author of Dancing in Damascus: Creativity, Resilience, and the Syrian Revolution.

'This is a fascinating and important exploration of the diversity that characterizes Islam in today’s Turkey. Giving attention to both women and men, spaces and bodies, markets and communities, Alimen gives us a compelling and theoretically sophisticated picture of how religion is literally part of the fabric of life.' - Nancy T. Ammerman is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Boston University and author of Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life

Nazlı Alimen’s outstanding study of gender and everyday religion in Turkey is one of the few to move beyond the popular and scholarly preoccupation with the veiled female body. Gaining rare access to members of three religious communities, Alimen researching pre-coup and writing post-coup captures a moment of tumultuous change in Turkish Islamist and popular politics. Her insights into women’s experiences of veiling, not veiling, de-veiling, and re-veiling, pair brilliantly with revelations about how men choose clothes and manage facial hair (growing, shaping, removing beards and moustaches). As visible markers of religious and community becoming newly and differently stigmatising in the crack-down on perceived followers of Fethullah Gülen, Alimen’s exploration of the politics and economics of pious consumption could not be more timely.  - Reina Lewis is Professor of Cultural Studies at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, and author of Modest Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Modern Turkey

ISBN: 9781788311663
Publication Date: 28 Feb 2018
Number of Pages: 304
Height: 216
Width: 138
Illustrations: 30 black and white integrated illustrations

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