Can Islamism, as is often claimed, truly unite Muslim Turks and Kurds in a discourse that supersedes ethnicity? This is a volatile and exciting time for a country whose long history has been characterized by dramatic power play. Evolving out of two years of fieldwork in Istanbul, this book examines the fragmenting Islamist political movement in Turkey. As Turkey emerges from a repressive modernizing project, various political identities are emerging and competing for influence. The Islamist movement celebrates the failure of Western liberalism in Turkey and the return of politics based on Muslim ideals. However, this vision is threatened by Kurdish nationalism and the country's troubled past. Is Islamist multiculturalism even possible? The ethnic tensions surfacing in Turkey beg the question whether the Muslim Turks and Kurds can find common ground in religion. Houston argues that such unification depends fundamentally upon the flexibility of the rationale behind the Islamist movement's struggle.
"As a study of those who conceive themselves to be most mis-recognized by the Turkish Republic, this book could not be more thoughtful or timely. Houston weaves together political analysis and ethnographic nuance with a deft hand, bringing out from the troubled textures of everyday life in 'global' Istanbul not only diversity of cultural and political style, but subtle and unexpected resonances between contesting positions. Ranging amiably over the world of political rallies, football matches, neighbourhood strolls, cafe life and satellite TV, Houston's book reminds us of the life left in modernity, just when, on Europe's fringe, many assumed it to have run aground." --Martin Stokes, University of Chicago
"This is the best intellectual history of Turkey to appear in two decades. Recommended for everyone interested in Turkey, the Kurds, Islam, or 'globalization'." --Choice
"Houston focuses on an important question and offers detailed data ... This is no small success." --Middle East Journal
"A well-argued, well-researched, and profound analysis of an important issue." --Journal of Islamic Studies
"A splendid guide through the warren of Turkish political and popular culture ... Houston uncovers a new kind of diversity rising from the wreckage of modernity." --The Global Review of Ethnopolitics
"Christopher Houston's book is that rare thing, a scholarly and sympathetic book about an Asian country that both opens a window onto the life of the country and subjects its culture and institutions to uncomforting critique ... An antidote to sweeping and monolithic characterisations of Islam, his book could not be more timely." --Thesis 11
"This work is a labour of love, to deliver which the author spent two years in Turkey ... [it is] a significant interdisciplinary contribution to international thinking on one of the world's most pressing geopolitical problems." --Anthropological Theory