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Title:Seeing Turkish state formation processes: Mapping language and education census data
Author(s):Ahn, Elise S.
Director of Research:Dhillon, Pradeep A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dhillon, Pradeep A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kibbee, Douglas A.; Rizvi, Fazal; Schwandt, Thomas A.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language policy
national identity construction
Turkish language policy
language and nation-state building
language and educational inequity
Abstract:Language provides an interesting lens to look at state-building processes because of its cross-cutting nature. For example, in addition to its symbolic value and appeal, a national language has other roles in the process, including: (a) becoming the primary medium of communication which permits the nation to function efficiently in its political and economic life, (b) promoting social cohesion, allowing the nation to develop a common culture, and (c) forming a primordial basis for self-determination. Moreover, because of its cross-cutting nature, language interventions are rarely isolated activities. Languages are adopted by speakers, taking root in and spreading between communities because they are legitimated by legislation, and then reproduced through institutions like the education and military systems. Pádraig Ó’ Riagáin (1997) makes a case for this observing that “Language policy is formulated, implemented, and accomplishes its results within a complex interrelated set of economic, social, and political processes which include, inter alia, the operation of other non-language state policies” (p. 45). In the Turkish case, its foundational role in the formation of the Turkish nation-state but its linkages to human rights issues raises interesting issues about how socio-cultural practices become reproduced through institutional infrastructure formation. This dissertation is a country-level case study looking at Turkey’s nation-state building process through the lens of its language and education policy development processes with a focus on the early years of the Republic between 1927 and 1970. This project examines how different groups self-identified or were self-identified (as the case may be) in official Turkish statistical publications (e.g., the Turkish annual statistical yearbooks and the population censuses) during that time period when language and ethnicity data was made publicly available. The overarching questions this dissertation explores include: 1.What were the geo-political conditions surrounding the development and influencing the Turkish government’s language and education policies? 2.Are there any observable patterns in the geo-spatial distribution of language, literacy, and education participation rates over time? In what ways, are these traditionally linked variables (language, literacy, education participation) problematic? 3.What do changes in population identifiers, e.g., language and ethnicity, suggest about the government’s approach towards nation-state building through the construction of a civic Turkish identity and institution building? Archival secondary source data was digitized, aggregated by categories relevant to this project at national and provincial levels and over the course of time (primarily between 1927 and 2000). The data was then re-aggregated into values that could be longitudinally compared and then layered on aspatial administrative maps. This dissertation contributes to existing body of social policy literature by taking an interdisciplinary approach in looking at the larger socio-economic contexts in which language and education policies are produced.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Elise S. Ahn
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05

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