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Neue Publikation: Affective intensities of polarization: the making of the Islamist/secularist divide through articulations of news media in Turkey

Haktan Ural (Ankara Univ.)

News vom 20.06.2022

in: Critical Discourse Studies | Link to article 


This study examines discursive articulations in mainstream news media in Turkey, through which the Islamist/secularist divide is imagined. Building upon discourse-theoretical analysis and affect theory, the study states that news media become the ultimate domain in which polarization is fuelled by affective forces. To illustrate this point, I draw upon the representations of Istanbul’s conquest by Ottoman forces, as a privileged signifier in articulations of Turkishness. I examine the opinion articles published in mainstream news media, following the framework of ‘reading for affect’. Accordingly, I identify two contrasting moods attributing affective value to Istanbul’s conquest. Hyperbolic narratives are central to Islamist imaginaries, as they attach utmost significance to Istanbul’s conquest. Conversely, secularist imaginaries are mostly built upon satire of disdain especially in relation to the celebrations of the conquest. Rhetorical works play a pivotal role in the signification of the city’s conquest. Rather than plainly constructing networks of meanings, they are the affective elements putting Istanbul’s conquest on the stage. From that vantage point, the study argues that affect and signification are not autonomous layers of discourse. Affective intensities are indeed articulated in chains of signifiers that conclude in the sedimentation and fixation of meanings. Read more

Haktan Ural is Assistant Professor (Sociology) at Ankara University. The paper was finalized during a research stay at the Institute of Sociology 

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