In my dissertation, through looking at contemporary urban queer formations and politics, I theorize about the complex ways in which power and abjection operates in the context of Turkey's post-Empire, Westernizing nation-state formation. I argue that queer formations, subjects and subcultures are particularly fruitful places from which to understand how power operates in Turkey, as they have been historically cast to a particular space between state regulation and state negligence. While queers have not been cast as the civilizational Others of the modernizing Turkish nation, or as a threat to national unity or identity, there has been a quiet, national imposition of monogamous, adult reproductive heterosexuality as the norm for the new Republic. ❧ Using four case studies that emerged from my fieldwork in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey, based on ethnographic methods, as well as in-depth interviews and analysis of popular/media discourses, I analyze what these sites reveal about the mechanisms of abjection of the modern westernizing nation-state, especially the roles played by processes of sexualization, racialization, secularization, criminalization and gendering of citizen subjects within the context of national aspirations for ""civilization."" I lay out how systems of justice and other forces of the state work to mark certain bodies as criminal, or simply push them outside of juridicial and political subjectivity and citizenship, how Western knowledges and discourses of gender and sexuality and human rights travel and get articulated and mobilized in ways that can and do contribute to divisions among queers and among larger groups ""Others"" of the secular Turkish nation-state, and about the uneasy relationship the secular nation-state has to other structures, such as feudal kinship systems, and religion that have the power to produce alternative regimes of truth, and deploy military/police functions. I provide these analyses through putting both the sexual, and the social at the heart of my critical inquiry, which I argue is essential for transnational and interdisciplinary queer studies.
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